A young model forced to have both legs amputated due to extreme COVID complications has been released from hospital in time for her 21st birthday.
Claire Bridges tested positive for the virus earlier this year and was admitted to Tampa General Hospital in Florida on January 16 after suffering serious symptoms.
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The 21-year-old is fully vaccinated and doctors soon identified her intense leg pain was a result of myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanotic and acidosis.
Her family said her condition quickly worsened and Claire, who was born with a congenital heart condition, was put on life support.
A build up of intense pressure in her legs restricted blood flow to the area, leaving doctors with no choice but to amputate both legs.
After two months in hospital, Claire was finally allowed to head home in time to spend her 21st birthday with friends and family.
“Home and outside,” she said in a social media post.
Her father Wayne Bridges said the brunette was “very happy to be home around family and friends”.
“We had a cookout for her on Saturday, which was her birthday,” he told Newsweek,
“We’re happy to get her out of the hospital life and in her mom’s house and more comfortable surroundings.
“It’s been mentally, emotionally taxing but we’re hopeful now. She is still facing more challenges but we are focused on today having her home.”
Claire’s ‘warrior’ recovery
The aspiring model has kept her thousands of followers updated on her road to recovery, refusing to let her shocking experience taint her positive attitude.
“I’m doing good, I have occupational therapy, physical therapy and at home nursing now multiple times a week and I’m getting up and moving a lot more,” she said this week in an optimistic update.
“I’ll be walking in no time!”
Mr Bridges has openly shared updates of Claire’s challenging journey, showing the world her commitment to recovery.
“Two months to the day this all started and Claire, for the first time sat up by herself,” he wrote last week.
“It may not seem like a lot, but for this warrior it’s a major victory!”
The loving father said he was so proud and inspired by his daughter’s strength.
“You have overcome more in two months than any of us could imagine in a lifetime,” he said.
“You will be climbing again before you know it.”
The family is raising money to help cover Claire’s ongoing medical expenses, with strangers and friends donating almost $US40,000.
Her local community held a fundraiser with the 50 Legs Organization, which helps amputees access prosthetics they otherwise could not afford.