‘My fingers turned BLACK and my organs shut down from mystery illness,’ reveals Brit, 51

A woman has revealed she had eight of her fingers amputated after a mystery illness turned them black and left her in hospital fighting for her life.
Share on facebook
Share
Share on twitter
Tweet

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

A woman has revealed she had eight of her fingers amputated after a mystery illness turned them black and left her in hospital fighting for her life.

Tina Patterson, 51, from Edinburgh, had fever-like symptoms a week after suffering from Covid-19 in March 2022, but ignored them for a while, taking paracetamol to curb the aches and pains.

But when she started to feel worse – with pain, exhaustion and cold feet leaving her in discomfort – paramedics were called round.

Tina Patterson’s hands before the amputation of her fingers. (Picture: Jam Press)

They couldn’t find a pulse in her index finger and were unable to draw blood, so Tina was referred to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

There, doctors were “stumped” and Tina had various tests – at which point she started to feel huge amounts of pain in her fingers.

Her organs started to shut down and she was rushed to the ICU.

Her husband Stuart, 59, a HGV driver, was warned she would likely not make it through the night and was told to prepare for the worst.

Luckily, Tina pulled through but doctors were still not sure what the cause is – explaining that her blood had been clotting and the supply to her limbs and organs was restricted.

She had various blood transfusions, dialysis of her kidneys and was given blood thinning medication to take from home after being released from hospital on 3 May.

Tina Patterson’s hands before the amputation of her fingers. (Picture: Jam Press)

However, earlier this month Tina’s fingertips started to turn black due to the lack of blood supply, with some of her toes also showing signs.

She was taken back to hospital and eight of her fingers were amputated – leaving her with no use of her hands.

“It’s been such a rollercoaster – it still hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” Tina, who works as a school support assistant, told NeedToKnow.online.

“I’ve still not seen my fingers since they were amputated. Stuart has had a look but I can’t bring myself to yet.

“Our whole lives have been turned upside down.

“When my fingers turned black, I just kept looking at them and wondering if it was real.

“Until they were cut off, it didn’t feel like reality. Waking up in the morning, it was like a bad dream.”

Stuart is now Tina’s round-the-clock carer, taking a leave of absence from work so he can support his wife.

Tina said: “He has to do everything for me, from dressing me, to feeding me, looking after the house, giving me medication.

“I have no use of my hands and may need four of my toes amputated too, so I’m in a wheelchair and can’t walk any distance.

“It’s a lot for him but he never complains.”

Despite her physical struggles, Tina has had an outpouring of support from loved ones.

She said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by kindness, which has really kept me going.

“My friends and family have blown me away, coming to keep me company, bringing cards and gifts.

“It’s the main thing that has kept my spirits high and kept me positive.”

Now, Tina is being closely monitored to see if she will need further amputations – particularly on the four toes – alongside having physiotherapy and occupational therapy.

She will have the stitches taken out of her fingers next week, at which point she will finally see what her new hands look like.

Tina Patterson’s feet now. She may need to have some toes amputated. (Picture: Jam Press)

As for recovery, doctors estimate it will take months until she starts to feel more like herself.

Tina added: “At the moment, I have no idea what the future holds. It’s going to be a really long process, but I’ll get there.

“I hope by sharing my story that other people take the warning signs more seriously.

“I kept brushing off [the pains] and taking a paracetamol, and I wish I hadn’t.

“If my story helps one person, I’ll be over the moon.”