A MUM-OF-THREE lost both her FEET eight weeks after giving birth when hospital failings left her with sepsis.
Amber Taj, 35, from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, had to wait seven hours for treatment despite showing symptoms of the deadly condition, during which her body went into shock.
She then spent 16 days in a coma as doctors diagnosed her with sepsis and drained her body of blood to remove traces of poisoning.
But it was too late to save the infection eating away at her feet, and in June 2010 both Amber’s feet were amputated, leaving her in “horrendous pain” and unable to walk.
She told how providing care for her kids was tough as she battled with her prosthetic limbs and forked out £300 for a wheelchair because the NHS didn’t give her one.
In September 2015, Halifax and Huddersfield Hospital admitted that, had Amber been treated earlier, her sepsis could have been prevented, and she was awarded a six-figure sum.
The mum, who has Kasim, 17, Imaan, 11, Hakim, seven, and two-year-old Musa, with husband Usman, 38, a self-employed businessman, said: “I gave birth to new life but sepsis ended mine as I knew it.
“To lose your legs at any point in your life would be horrendous, but for me, with three children – including a newborn – it was a nightmare.
While Amber lay in a coma, the metatarsal of her left foot and part of her right heel and toes rotted away due to the infection
“I was in constant pain and barely able to hold my baby, let alone run around after the others.
“We took on the hospital and I’m relieved they acknowledge liability, but nothing will ever bring back my legs, or let me be the hands-on, active mum I used to be.”
Amber fell pregnant with her third child in early 2009, and Hakim was born healthy that November.
She was discharged but soon after began to feel unwell, suffering aches and pains and occasionally throwing up.
On January 24, 2010, Amber blacked out and was rushed to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary at 6pm.
Amber, pictured with Hakim after the amputations, was left in ‘horrendous pain’ and unable to walk
She was put on an antibiotic drip but was made to wait seven hours for treatment from medics.
At 1am her body went into septic shock and medics realised her kidneys and liver were on the verge of collapse.
Given just a 30 per cent chance of survival, Amber lay in a coma as medics drained her body of blood and gave her “several” blood transfusions to replace her platelet, iron and magnesium levels.
But while she lay on a ventilator, the blood did not reach her feet in time and the nerves “died”, with the metatarsal of her left foot and part of her right heel and toes rotting away.
Amber was warned she would need a full amputation of both feet, but the black parts had to harden before they could operate
When she awoke from her coma 16 days later, the mum was horrified when she saw her feet were bandaged and was told what had happened.
Amber was warned she would need a full amputation of both feet, but the black parts had to harden before they could operate.
In that period, three more of her toes fell off and she was completely dependent on her husband to be the active parent to her newborn and other children.
What is sepsis?
Septicaemia, also known as sepsis, is a rare but serious complication of an infection that can quickly lead to multiple organ failure and death.The blood poisoning occurs when large amounts of bacteria enter the bloodstream.Bacterial meningitis can lead to septicaemia.Sepsis can also be caused by viral or fungal infections, although bacterial infections are by far the most common cause.
In June 2010 she had a double amputation in a five hour operation and spent three weeks in hospital.
Her life changed dramatically as she became reliant on her husband.
Amber admitted she hated her children thinking of her as a “disabled mum” and began using antidepressants.
In 2014, a year after her amputation, she fell pregnant by accident and spent nine months feeling terrified she would contract sepsis for a second time.
While Musa was born healthy, Amber found adapting to a fourth child with her disability hard.
In June 2010 Amber had a double amputation in a five hour operation
Amber was awarded a six-figure sum in compensation due to the hospital blunder
Amber said she hates her children thinking of her as a ‘disabled mum’
She struggled to find prosthetic limbs that were comfortable and she made herself cushioned blocks to wear on her stumps instead of shoes.
Believing the hospital should have diagnosed and halted the sepsis earlier, Amber got a solicitor.
In September 2015, Halifax and Huddersfield Hospital admitted they’d failed Amber by delaying her treatment and awarded her a six-figure sum in compensation, settled out of court.
Amber joined a sepsis forum and is now keen to raise awareness of the reality for sepsis survivors.
She said: “I will never let me be the active mum I used to be and I will live the rest of my life in pain and in a self-conscious state, but I am relieved to have had justice.”
Last week we told how a six-year-old boy who collapsed after complaining of illness died from sepsis – after doctors repeatedly sent him home with Calpol.
Earlier this year we reported how a dad-of-two died of the lethal condition just five days after scratching himself on a nail.