Grandad James Devlin suffered a toe injury after he dropped a wardrobe on his foot. Getting it checked over by medical staff at a hospital, James claims he was sent home with a pack of painkillers. Feeling as though he was in agony, James revisited the A&E centre but said he kept getting sent home.
On another visit, medics told James that his left toe had turned gangrenous: amputation needed to take place.
James said: “Before all this, I was extremely active. I’d played football and ran all my life and would often have weekends away cycling.
“Sport and exercise meant so much to me and I also got a lot out of helping train others.
“However, that’s all completely gone. It’s sometimes difficult to find the words to describe how my life has changed.
“It’s not just the physical injuries which have been hard to come to terms with but also the psychological impact.”
Medical examinations found a blood clot behind his left knee, so there was reduced blood flow to the lower limb and foot.
Having part of his left leg amputated, James had to take several months off from work.
James now has a prosthetic leg, but finds it painful to use at times, so he uses a wheelchair to get about.
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“I’m a lot more reliant on Jeanette [his partner] and the rest of the family,” said James.
“While I now have a prosthetic limb, which means I can get about a little more, there are days where I’m in severe pain while my body gets used to it.
“It’s not too bad indoors but outside I can only walk a couple of hundred yards as the pain gets too much.”
James said: “I’m also accident-prone when outside as the terrain can be different.
“I can’t walk on grass, as although it looks even, it’s often not and the slightest bump or change in the surface can mean I fall.”
James added: “Despite everything, I’m determined not to be defined by my disability and to live a full life, as [much as] I can.
“I’m focused on my recovery and setting myself little goals. It’s likely to be some way off yet, but things like getting back on a bike or helping out more with the grandkids would mean so much to me.
“I just hope that by speaking out others in a similar situation don’t feel they have to go through it alone. There is a lot of support out there.”
The NHS explains: “Gangrene is a serious condition where a loss of blood supply causes body tissue to die.”
Gangrene can occur as a result of an injury, infection, or a long-term condition that affects blood circulation.
Symptoms of gangrene can include:
- Red, purple or black skin in the affected area, which may be harder to see on black or brown skin
- Swelling of the skin in the affected area
- Either a loss of sensation or severe pain in the affected area
- Sores or blisters in the affected area that bleed or produce foul-smelling pus.
The health body advises: “You should see your GP immediately if you’re worried you may have gangrene.”
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