Family devastated after Narberth mum went to bed with flu and loses both legs to sepsis

Doctors said they had never seen a patient so ill as Julianna Credit: Tim Bransden

A dedicated teacher went to bed with flu-like symptoms and ended up losing both of her legs after doctors said they had never seen a patient so ill.

Mother-of-two Julianna Bransden, 44, was living a "happy healthy life" until a sudden illness left her fighting for her life.

She first began experiencing flu-like symptoms on New Year's Eve and after going to bed to try and rest for the next 24 hours, her husband described her "falling off a cliff" after deteriorating so badly, her heart stopped.

Julianna pictured at her brother's wedding with her two children Emilia and William and husband Tim Credit: Tim Bransden

"I called 111 and was told to keep her hydrated and then the next thing, we had to call an ambulance", Tim said.

Tim waited at their home in Narberth, Pembrokeshire with their two children Emilia, 14, and William, 11, but then recalled how an ambulance paramedic called to ask Tim to make his way to the hospital because Julianna's heart had stopped.

"It was really traumatic."

From there, Julianna spent 18 days in in a coma with doctors working around the clock to treat her for septic shock, two cardiac arrests and multiple organ failure.

When Julianna eventually came around, she had suffered severe damage to her hands and feet and had have both legs amputated from sepsis as a result of an aggressive form of pneumonia.

Julianna is also expected to lose some of her fingers Credit: Tim Bransden

  • What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection.

A sepsis infection can start anywhere in the body and can occur after chest or water infections, abdomen problems - such as burst ulcers - or even from cuts and bites.

It is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria. The body’s response to an infection may injure its own tissues and organs.

If untreated, sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death.

According to the Sepsis Trust, the disease leads to 44,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Husband Tim praised the staff for working "so incredibly hard" to save his wife's life after being told she may not survive the night.

The talented pianist is also expected to lose most of her fingers.

"The ITU nurse who treated Julianna in A&E had worked there for 22 years and said she'd never seen anyone so ill", Tim said.

"They gave her everything they could in terms of treatment".

Julianna had contracted sepsis resulting from an aggressive form of pneumonia Credit: Tim Bransden

Julianna is currently being treated at Withybush Hospital having only left intensive care last week. On Thursday, she underwent surgery after suffering a bleed on her stomach.

Her family say she has shown "unwavering resilience, which has been inspirational."

"She was asleep for so long, she has had quite a lot of muscle wastage and has little strength", her husband told ITV News."She wasn't even able to lift her arms a couple of weeks ago. She is going to need a lot of rehab and physio".

"Sepsis never would have crossed my mind. It's such a big killer and it can creep up on you in the background".

Tim has been by Julianna's side most days as she recovers Credit: Tim Bransden

Self-employed plumber Tim hasn't been able to work since before Christmas and is focusing on supporting his two children and getting Julianna home, who he describes as being "crazy positive".

"She has been such a dedicated teacher for the last 20 years. Every night, every weekend, every school event, she's been at the forefront.

"She's a community governor. Her whole passion is teaching kids."

Julianna's mother and father have also been by her bedside throughout her illness Credit: Tim Bransden

Julianna's family including her parents and brother, who have been by her side since her illness, are now helping to raising money to support Julianna's recovery which they hope will include prosthetics. The fundraising page has seen donations total almost £45,000 in just over 24 hours.

Julianna's family are trying to raise money to support her recovery Credit: Tim Bransden

"She won't have prosthetics for a while so we also need to focus on re-adapting the home and making it as wheelchair-friendly as possible.

They want to get Julianna home as soon as she is well enough but are yet to be given any dates by the hospital as she continues to receive treatment.

"She would want to raise awareness of this", Tim said.

"The hospital staff coped so well with her illness.

"Look what they've done they've saved her life - they've given her life back."