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Teacher has both legs amputated after 'falling asleep with the flu'

Julianna Bransden's health deteriorated rapidly after she fell ill over the Christmas holidays.

A “dedicated and popular” teacher’s life has been turned upside down after she went to bed with flu-like symptoms, only to wake from a coma 18 days later to doctors telling her they need to amputate both of her legs.

Julianna Bransden had been “happy, healthy and busy” when she wrapped up the school term on December 23. However, just days later the 44-year-old — who enjoys coastal walks with her husband Tim and their two children, Emilia, 14, and William, 11, near their Welsh home — was “falling over a cliff edge”.

The mum suddenly developed a ‘cold’ over the festive holidays, but her illness “developed rapidly into flu-like symptoms” on New Year’s Eve, her friends and family wrote on a GoFundMe created to help her raise funds for her recovery.

Julianna Bransden with her amputated legs after developing flu-like symptoms.
Julianna Bransden was left fighting for her life after she developed flu-like symptoms over the Christmas break. Source: GoFundMe

Tim, who described the moment to ITV news as “really traumatic”, called paramedics for help and was told to keep monitoring Ms Bransden at home while providing her with plenty of fluids. But just moments later, he made the shocking realisation that his wife’s heart had suddenly stopped beating.

Ms Bransden, who is also a talented pianist, was then rushed to the hospital where she was placed on life support under heavy sedation.

“Julianna deteriorated dramatically with septic shock, suffering two cardiac arrests and multiple organ failure…” GoFundMe organisers Organiser Jac Pass and Jeremy Burgess wrote.

“A diagnosis of sepsis resulting from an aggressive form of pneumonia was confirmed and we were warned that she may not survive the night!”

Julianna's black hands and her with her husband and two children.
The 44-year-old mum of two, who is also a talented pianist, will likely also lose the majority of her fingers. Source: GoFundMe

The family revealed the pneumonia had been caused by a combination of invasive Strep A and Influenza, “resulting in a level of sickness that several experienced ICU nurses said they had never seen anyone manage to recover from before”.

Talented pianist will also lose fingers from sepsis

After almost three weeks on a ventilator, doctors were ecstatic when Ms Bransden woke up with no long-term brain damage.

However, the sudden illness did cause severe damage to her hands and feet, forcing her to have both of her legs amputated below the knee on February 16. She is also “likely to lose the majority of her fingers” and is currently unable to use her arms.

Julianna's husband feeding her in her hospital bed.
As of now, Julianna is completely dependent on her husband and hospital staff. Source: GoFundMe

“The focus now is on getting Julianna home and supporting her long-term rehabilitation and recovery,” the fundraiser reads. “As a double amputee and with limited use of her hands, life for both Julianna and her family has now taken a very different path.

“Julianna will walk again with the use of prosthetics, of that we have no doubt. She will also overcome the challenges with her hands, adapting to find new ways of achieving what she needs to do.”

The money raised will also go towards the “daunting” task of adapting the couple’s home as the 44-year-old rebuilds her independence and adjusts to her “new normal”.

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