Henlow teacher has hands and feet amputated after contracting coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:58 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 20 July 2020

Caroline is pictured here with her daughter Hannah and dog Duke. Picture: Will Coster

Caroline is pictured here with her daughter Hannah and dog Duke. Picture: Will Coster

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A teacher who has had her hands and feet amputated after contracting coronavirus and sepsis says she “is completely at peace about it” and looking forward to the future.

Caroline is looking forward to having 'fancy prosthetics' fitted to her amputated limbs. Picture: Hannah CosterCaroline is looking forward to having 'fancy prosthetics' fitted to her amputated limbs. Picture: Hannah Coster

Caroline Coster, a Year 5 teacher at Henlow Church of England Academy, began experiencing symptoms of coronavirus in March and followed medical advice from her GP, but began feeling steadily worse.

Crucially, Caroline’s GP phoned her a few days later to ask how she was. “Had she not done that, I would be dead,” Caroline said.

Her GP told her to go to hospital, where she was admitted into critical care and put in an induced coma for a month.

Caroline said: “I have very vague memories of what happened. Unfortunately my husband, Will, and children, Eleanor and Hannah, have much more precise memories. Twice they were told the doctors were about to turn the machines off, and came to say goodbye. On both occasions, a friend organised a prayer chain and the doctors worked their magic. I fought and turned the corner.”
Caroline developed sepsis and her blood pressure fell so low she was given vasopressors to ensure blood flow continued to reach her vital organs. It ultimately saved her life, but resulted in Caroline’s hands and feet turning black and having to be amputated.

Caroline, flanked by firefighters, watched a Spitfire fly over the hospital on the 72nd anniversary of the NHS, with a 'thank you' message written on the underside of its wings. Picture: Clare Alden-SalterCaroline, flanked by firefighters, watched a Spitfire fly over the hospital on the 72nd anniversary of the NHS, with a 'thank you' message written on the underside of its wings. Picture: Clare Alden-Salter

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She said: “I am completely at peace about it. They were no use to me anymore. I’m looking forward to fancy prosthetics.”

Her daughter Hannah said: “Quickly she has come around to her new reality. She is at peace with the loss of her hands and feet as they are not what make her the person she is, and she has faced this challenge with a positivity and determination that few of us could match.

“She is looking forward to what the future brings. However, the reality is that she will require a huge amount of adaptations and specialised equipment in order to live a normal, independent life, return to hobbies and stay in the home she loves. Sadly government and NHS funding for many of the items we need is very limited.”

Caroline says she is completely at peace with the loss of her limbs. Picture: Clare Alden-SalterCaroline says she is completely at peace with the loss of her limbs. Picture: Clare Alden-Salter

Hannah has set up a fundraising page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/caroline-coster.

She said: “Money raised will go towards adaptations in the home to enable her to move around easily and reach objects, a bathroom she can use independently, private hand prosthetics and mobility aids.”

To learn more about sepsis visit sepsistrust.org


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