Born with a congenital heart condition, Claire Bridges was rushed off to Tampa General Hospital, Florida, when she began suffering from organ failure in January 2022 following a Covid infection. Diagnosed with myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanosis and acidosis – according to Yahoo News – Claire was placed on dialysis to help her failing kidneys. The damage to her body, however, resulted in poor circulation to her lower limbs, leading to amputation.
Dad Wayne Bridges said despite medical staff striving to save Claire’s legs, the damage was “too severe and irreversible”.
Detailing the progress of his daughter’s recovery on Facebook, Mr Bridges confirmed on March 17 that Claire could finally sit up by herself.
“Two months to the day this all started and Claire, for the first time, sat up by herself,” the proud father noted.
“It may not seem like a lot, but for this warrior it’s a major victory!” Mr Bridges added.
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“And for this victory, it looks like our warrior girl is coming home to her mom’s house today for the rehab phase of her journey.”
Released in time for her 21st birthday, Mr Bridges said: “She is very happy to be home around family and friends.”
Confiding to Newsweek, Mr Bridges stated it had been a “mentally [and] emotionally taxing” time.
However, the family are now “hopeful” to raise thousands of pounds that will go towards Claire’s medical and ongoing recovery expenses.
“I am so proud of you and inspired by you,” Mr Bridges wrote in a touching tribute to Claire on Facebook.
“You have overcome more in two months than any of us could imagine in a lifetime.”
A congenital heart condition
The NHS explained: “Congenital heart disease is a general term for a range of birth defects that affect the normal way the heart works.”
Congenital heart disease is “one of the most common types of birth defect” that affects one in 100 babies born in the UK.
In babies and children, congenital heart disease can lead to the following symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Swelling of the legs, tummy or around the eyes
- Extreme tiredness and fatigue
- A blue tinge to the skin or lips (cyanosis)
- Tiredness and rapid breathing when a baby is feeding.
“These problems are sometimes noticeable soon after birth, although mild defects may not cause any problems until later in life,” the NHS added.
There are numerous types of congenital heart disease; sometimes, the defects can occur in combinations.
Some of the “more common defects” include:
- Septal defects
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- Transposition of the great arteries
- Undeveloped heart.
Congenital heart disease and Covid
The British Heart Foundation stated: “Most children with congenital heart disease don’t seem to be at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus infection.”
However, children with congenital heart disease are classified as higher risk of Covid if they have:
- Fontan circulation
- Single ventricle or cyanosis
- Significant lung disease
- Heart failure
- Pulmonary hypertension.
The BHF added: “Generally, any child with congenital heart disease who falls into one of the high-risk categories above is eligible for the Covid vaccine.”
People who have not had a recent medical check-up regarding congenital heart disease should speak to their doctor.