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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 March 2007, 20:26 GMT
Flesh bug woman's legs are saved
Claire Amos (l), Shola Adeniran (m) and nurse
Shola Adeniran (m) said Claire (l) made a remarkable recovery
A Cornish woman who nearly lost her life and both legs to flesh-eating bacteria has thanked a surgeon who decided not to amputate her limbs.

Claire Amos, 29, from Tywardreath, contracted necrotising fasciitis.

After 20 operations and more than three months in Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, she is now walking unaided.

Plastic surgeon Shola Adeniran said amputation was considered but he took the decision not to so as she could maintain her quality of life.

It's a delicate balance
Shola Adeniran

If caught early, the disease can be treated with antibiotics, but more drastic surgery can involve the removal of skin and even limbs to halt the spread of the bacteria.

The disease is often contracted through an open wound, but in Claire Amos' case she just developed flu-like symptoms.

When she was in hospital after being diagnosed a year ago, Claire's family was told she would probably lose both legs at the hip and may not survive.

But her surgeon says she has made a remarkable recovery after what could have been a dangerous decision to not amputate.

Marriage plans

Mr Adeniran said: "Claire is a young lady, and you have to consider the quality of life.

"So it's delicate balance of not doing enough, which can compromise her life; and doing too much, which can also have severe negative impacts on the quality of life and general well-being of the patient."

Ms Amos said was grateful to be alive and walking unaided.

She said: "I can't imagine what my life would have been like without my legs. It doesn't bear thinking about; so I'm very, very lucky.

"I owe him my life and my legs."

Ms Amos said she was now looking forward to going back to work as a chef, and to walking down the aisle when she gets married in May.


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