A mum who had her legs amputated after complications during childbirth has appeared on the Jeremy Kyle Show in an attempt to save her relationship.
Torquay mum Ella Clarke, 31, woke up in her hospital bed prepared to savour a moment she had waiting nine months to cherish, but instead of holding her baby girl, Winter Rose, doctors delivered news that would turn her world upside down.
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Surgeons had been forced to amputate both of Ella’s legs due to complications and an alleged NHS blunder.
The mother-of-eight appeared on the tell-all television chat show with the catchline ‘I’m scared my partner will leave me because my legs were amputated’.
Ella explained that she had been with partner Ian for 10 years, and worried that he didn’t find her attractive anymore after having to turn from her ‘lover to her carer’.
She said: “I’ve lost my independence. I can’t run a bath, I can’t tuck in the kids, Ian has to help me with everything.
“He needs to talk about everything with me, because he can’t. He needs to be my partner and not my carer.”
Ian came on stage and held Ella’s hand. He explained that Ella had lost her confidence since the amputation, and spoke about not being able to make the decision about the surgery.
He said: “She’s amazing, I’m more attracted to her now. I’m not going anywhere, she puts up with me. She’s lost her confidence and bottles up her emotions.”
Host Jeremy revealed that the couple hadn’t had a ‘physical relationship’ since the amputation, and called Ella ‘absolutely inspirational’.
He said: “I have to admit, and I don’t normally say this, but you are one of the strongest women we have ever had on the show. You are an absolute inspiration.”
The pair were sent to receive aftercare from the show’s team.
Ella, who was having her sixth C-section, had just spent five days in an induced coma after losing six litres of blood due to a dangerous complication called placenta accreta – which can be common with women who have had C-sections in the past.
Doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy and five blood transfusions – which in almost all cases of placenta accreta is required to save the mother’s life.
Ella, from Torquay, was placed into an induced coma and transferred to intensive care where doctors had to monitor her hourly for the next 24 hours as she was prone to clotting.
But it is claimed doctors forgot to check her and six hours had passed before she was seen.
By this point, Ella’s legs had clotted and circulation had stopped. She was immediately rushed into theatre where two surgeons battled to recover circulation in both her legs – but it was too late.
Ella has now spoken of the traumatic, life-changing incident in December 2015.
She said: “Going into hospital to have a baby should have been the best moment of my life.
“I had no idea what was going on. I was put to sleep for the c-section and then put immediately into an induced coma when things started to go wrong.
“I remember the moment I woke up. I thought I was waking up from my C-section. I expected my beautiful little baby girl to be passed to me. I had no idea I’d been in a coma
“Instead I was told doctors had amputated my legs after complications with my C-section.
“But the reality of the situation soon started to hit home when Winter Rose was placed in my arms and my restricted future flashed before me.”
Ella and her partner Ian Ross, 32, now face a challenging future – and the full-time mother will be bound to a wheelchair.
She said: “I’m now sleeping downstairs in the living room and trying to get used to walking with prosthetic legs, but it’s challenging.
“I’m having counselling to cope with the shock but my whole life has changed forever.
“I went from being an active mum to instantly wheelchair bound. I couldn’t stop crying My five year old couldn’t look at me without a blanket on because she was scared and my eldest daughter starting falling behind at school.
“My family was falling apart and I was helpless.”
Solicitors are now acting on Ella’s behalf to launch legal action against the NHS trust.
She said: “I was an active mum doing the school runs and chasing my family around the garden. Now I’m the complete opposite.
“I might never be able to run after my children, or stand next to them. No human being should ever have to experience this after it could have so easily been avoided.
“I have eight children to look after, what life can I have now? This has impacted us far worse than you can ever imagine.”
A spokesman for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust said: “We would like to offer our sympathy to Ms C. We are carrying out a full and thorough investigation and at this time it is not appropriate for us to make further comment.”