A MODEL who had both legs amputated after catching Covid and almost dying THREE times revealed how she was saved by doctors.
Speaking exclusively to the Sun for the first time since the surgery, Claire Bridges, 21, revealed how her world changed overnight when she suffered medical complications triggered by Covid.
Claire, who was born with a serious heart condition, was rushed to the hospital in January after suffering severe leg pain at her Florida home.
The Covid diagnosis and Claire’s condition stopped her heart from working and led to her having three strokes as doctors struggled to save her life.
Due to the lack of blood flow to Claire’s legs, doctors were forced to make the painful decision to remove Claire’s limbs to keep her alive.
Four months later, the amazing young woman promised to return to modeling despite the ‘regret’ of having her legs amputated.
Brave Claire told the Sun: “I felt scared during my health battle, especially as I had another open-heart surgery coming up.
“I’ve managed to deal with it by allowing myself to lean on my support system and suffer, but I don’t allow it to consume me.
“I remain positive because I’m here, I have an amazing support system and doctors, it can always be worse.
“…When I was told the doctors brought me back three times, I just said, ‘thank you for saving my life.’
“I was shocked, but I remember feeling grateful to be alive.”
Claire, from Tampa, started feeling unwell around January 16, when she was unable to walk due to severe pain in her legs.
She was unable to eat or drink and quickly deteriorated before being admitted to the hospital.
Her organs quickly began to fail after Claire was diagnosed with Covid, myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanosis and acidosis — all in addition to her congenital heart condition.
She was put on life support, as well as hooked up to a dialysis machine when her kidneys began to fail.
Claire’s condition caused doctors to scramble to save her, giving her three CPRs.
Claire’s father told how his family was put on the phone with the hospital’s chaplain – to prepare them for the worst.
But Claire was stabilized before doctors performed a fasciotomy, to relieve pressure on her legs after the loss of blood circulation.
However, the procedure failed to save Claire’s limbs and she received the devastating news that she would need to have both legs removed below the knee.
Claire told the Sun: “I knew my legs were going to be amputated before I went into surgery.
“All the doctors under my care and my parents came to my room to tell me what would have to happen.
“After the surgery, I had phantom pains and was in a state of delirium.
“I was still very sick and on a lot of medicine, so I don’t remember much of what was really going on.”
Father Wayne Bridges added: “I remember getting the call from the ER doctor telling me that Claire’s heart had stopped beating and they were trying to revive her, which they did.
“While I was on the phone with the doctor and Chaplin, Claire’s heart stopped again and had to be revived twice more.
“I literally fell to the ground in tears and was praying and begging God.
“It was the scariest, most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with in my life, but I’m grateful that we still have Claire.”
Despite the life-changing event, Claire struggled and made a steady recovery – returning home for her 21st birthday just nine weeks later.
She is now at home surrounded by her family as she adjusts to her new way of life.
She said: “Since Covid my life has changed drastically, I was highly independent, on the go 24/7, at school, working, while now I rely heavily on my support system to do daily chores.” .
Claire says she tries not to let the ‘sorrow’ of what happened consume her and wants to help others in a similar situation.
The model, who is still undergoing heart surgery, is now in rehab at home and will soon begin the process of having her legs fitted.
She said: “My hopes for the future include going back to school, modeling and hopefully being able to help others who are going through similar situations.
“The goal is for me to do everything I did before, and more, just with prosthetic legs.
“If anyone is in a similar situation, I want them to know that they are not alone, and it’s okay to have your days to grieve, but don’t let it consume you and certainly don’t take it easy.”
Wayne, who was by his daughter’s side the entire time, described Claire as a ‘warrior’.
He told the Sun: “She has her ups and downs, as you can imagine, but she’s resilient, positive and inspiring.
“She is determined to get back to modeling, rock climbing, hiking and more.
“Our expectations are for a full recovery and Claire getting back to doing what she loves. Claire told me that won’t stop her from doing what she wants.”
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