Aspiring model, 20, loses legs in harrowing Covid battle

·News Reporter
·3-min read

An aspiring model has lost both of her legs after a battle with Covid-19 following several emergency operations and a stint on life support.

Claire Bridges, 20, from Florida in the US, was rushed to hospital after experiencing severe leg pain in January, but a coronavirus diagnosis led to a series of other complications.

Soon after being admitted to Tampa General Hospital on January 16, the 20-year-old, who was born with a congenital heart condition, was also diagnosed with myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanosis and acidosis.

Claire Bridges with her dad Wayne (left). Claire Bridges returning home after two months in hospital with Covid and other complications (right)
Claire Bridges lost both of her legs after a battle with Covid. Source: Facebook/Wayne Bridges

Ms Bridges' condition changed rapidly over the next two weeks due to ongoing organ failure.

She was given a TandemHeart – which helps to send a steady supply of oxygenated blood to organs – and hours after that was placed on continuous dialysis because of her failing kidneys.

As the complications worsened, so did the condition in her leg so doctors performed a fasciotomy to relieve the swelling and pressure.

Despite trying to save her legs, the damage was "too severe and irreversible", her dad Wayne Bridges revealed.

In February Ms Bridges, who is vaccinated, had both legs cut off above the knee.

"She wasn't getting circulation to her legs and, because of that, there was a lot of muscle damage," her best friend Heather Valdes told WTVT, Newsweek reported.

Doctors also discovered she was bleeding internally resulting in an emergency blood transfusion.

"They found a very rare lesion in the first part of the small intestines that had ruptured," her dad revealed on Facebook.

"Luckily they were able to fix it and stop the bleeding."

Claire bridges in hospital after having legs amputated
The 20-year-old from Florida spent two months in hospital. Source: Facebook/Wayne Bridges

Despite the life-changing event, Ms Bridges remained positive according to family and friends who described her as an "amazing young woman" and a "warrior".

A new beginning for Claire: 'Happy to be home'

Her dad Wayne has detailed his daughter's journey on Facebook and revealed on March 17 that she was finally able to sit up herself for the first time since January.

"Two months to the day this all started and Claire, for the first time sat up by herself," he wrote on Facebook.

"It may not seem like a lot, but for this Warrior it's a major victory! And for this victory, it looks like our Warrior girl is coming home to her mom's house today for the rehab phase of her journey."

This week, the 20-year-old was released from the hospital, just in time for her 21st birthday.

The young woman was born with a heart condition causing complications after contracting Covid. Source: GoFundMe
The young woman was born with a heart condition causing complications after contracting Covid. Source: GoFundMe

"She is very happy to be home around family and friends," Mr Bridges told Newsweek.

"It's been mentally, emotionally taxing but we're hopeful now. She is still facing more challenges but we are focused on having her home."

Mr Bridges said his daughter will require ongoing rehab with physical and occupational therapy. She will also need to prepare for prosthetic legs.

Mr Bridges set up a GoFundMe page for his daughter with hopes to raise $100,000 (AUD $134,000) which will go towards Claire's medical and ongoing recovery expenses.

"I am so proud of you and inspired by you. You have overcome more in two months than any of us could imagine in a lifetime," Mr Bridges wrote in a touching tribute on Facebook.

"You will be climbing again before you know it."

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