Dad to lose both legs after tiny dog scratch triggers deadly sepsis

A DAD is preparing to have both legs amputated after a tiny dog scratch triggered deadly sepsis.

Barry Wallace was left with a one centimetre mark on his right arm after his Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Harley, jumped up and playfully greeted him.

Barry, of Nottingham, thought nothing of the moment in August 2015, but two years later he is now set to have both his legs amputated in the New Year.

The 48-year-old has already lost both feet, after an infection invaded the tiny wound and developed into blood poisoning, also known as sepsis.

“Harley had been mum’s dog for five years. He’s really playful and was excited to see me, because I often took him for walks,” Barry said.

“He jumped up and scratched my arm with his teeth.

Barry, pictured with his partner Naomi, developed sepsis after being scratched by his pet dog’s teeth
“It was just a tiny scratch, the size of your fingernail. It drew blood, but it was so small that I didn’t give it another thought.

“He was excited to see me and it was just like a paper cut.”

After spending a few hours with his retired mum, Wendy, he returned to the home he shared with his cleaner girlfriend, Naomi Watt, 32.

But later that evening he developed a fever and started showing signs of infection.

Barry was placed in an induced coma to help his body fight the infection and has already had both his feet amputated
“We thought he’d eaten something dodgy, or had a stomach bug, so he went to bed,” Naomi said.

“But the next day he was getting worse and felt really ill. I was starting to panic that he wasn’t right.

“His face had gone a bit purple and he was in agony.”

Barry was taken by ambulance to Queen’s Medical Centre 23 hours after being scratched by the dog.

Naomi continued: “His feet and part of his nose and ears were turning black, so he was taken to A&E and then onto the intensive care unit.

“Doctors had no idea what was wrong with him.

“It was in no way a savage dog bite, so no one even envisioned it could have caused it.”

Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Harley, had scratched Barry while excitedly jumping up at him
By the next day, Barry had deteriorated so much, he was transferred to the intensive care unit at Nottingham City Hospital because his kidneys had failed.

He needed specialist care and was put in an induced coma to give his body time to fight the infection.

“I thought he was going to die. His legs had gone completely black and part of his arms too,” Naomi recalled.

Doctors told Naomi and Barry’s four children that he had contracted capnocytophaga – a bacteria which lives in the mouths of dogs and cats.

In rare cases it can spread to humans through bites, scratches, or close contact, causing illness.

Barry was kept in hospital for three months
And the bacteria triggered sepsis, a life threatening condition that causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive and attack health tissues and organs.

Five weeks later Naomi was told he needed his feet and, at a later date, his legs amputated because of the damage the infection caused.

“I was devastated. But seeing what a bad state Barry’s feet were in, I knew there was no coming back from it,” she said.

“Barry couldn’t believe what had happened to him when he came around.”

Discharged that November following the double amputation, wheelchair-bound Barry could no longer work at his job as a pipe-layer

“Before this, I was working every day and had a proper life,” Barry added.

“Now I can’t walk and it’s ruined everything.

“If it wasn’t for Naomi and my children, I’d dead by now. They have been so supportive.”

BBC Panorama investigation unearths poor performance of NHS in diagnosing Sepsis


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