Bladder with new shoes: Model almost lost her leg due to blood poisoning

Almost lost leg: bladder poisoning from new shoes

A young woman from the UK almost lost her leg due to blood poisoning. The sepsis resulted from a blister that the model had contracted due to new shoes. Now the 23-year-old warns other people about the life-threatening infection.

Complaints were dismissed as nothing serious

According to media reports, 23-year-old Gemma Downey from Billingshurst, West Sussex, noticed last week that her shoes were rubbing on the back of her feet on the way to the train station. Not long after, a tiny blister with a "strange color" formed on her heel, which quickly developed into a swelling that spread around the ankle, the British newspaper "Daily Mail" writes. The young woman then went to her family doctor, who prescribed antibiotics, and, after the symptoms worsened, to an emergency room, where the doctors dismissed her symptoms as nothing serious. A fatal mistake!

Amputation loomed

The next day the woman woke up with a strongly increased pulse, low blood pressure and "blue" skin. In addition, she had to vomit.

“I had pain all over my body, chest pain and difficulty breathing. I knew something was seriously wrong, ”said Ms. Downey.

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She went to the hospital again, where the doctors finally diagnosed sepsis (blood poisoning).

According to the information, the model had to be treated in the clinic for two days. She is now back home, but it will be three months before she has fully recovered.

During this time, she may only wear flip-flops or sandals so that her skin can regenerate.

The doctors told her that if she had waited longer, an amputation of her leg would have been necessary.

"I was told that I had an early stage of sepsis, but luckily I was able to get treatment before it got worse," she said.

"I know it can be fatal. The doctors told me I was lucky. "

Affected people want to warn other people about the dangers of sepsis

Now she wants to make other people aware of the dangers of the infection.

"I couldn't believe that something so insignificant could do so much damage," said Downey.

"I'm very lucky that my condition was recognized early," said the young woman.

The whole problem, according to Ms. Downey, came from shoes that she bought from a second-hand store last year and had only worn a few times.

These rubbed on her heel, as described, so that a blister formed. "Everyone assumes that it was high heels that were responsible, but the shoes that I wore are very popular at the moment, they are trendy, just everyday shoes."

The model first used a plaster and then switched to more comfortable shoes. But that didn't help much either.

"I noticed that I could not walk properly and hobbled and had a lot more pain than normal," said the model.

This experience prompted the 23-year-old to tell other women that if they get blisters and feel bad, they should "trust their instincts and have it checked".

Symptoms of blood poisoning

Sepsis is not always easy to recognize at first, as the first signs are usually very unspecific:

  • Fever (≥ 38 ° C) or less often too low temperature (≤ 36 ° C)
  • Fast and shallow breathing (tachypnea), frequency ≥ 20 / min
  • High pulse and rapid heart rate (tachycardia), frequency ≥ 90 / min
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • malaise
  • Diminished consciousness (confusion)
  • Decreased urine output

The main symptom of sepsis is high fever or fever, with alternating fever rising rapidly and falling to normal within 24 hours. The fever is often accompanied by chills (adults) and febrile seizures (babies and toddlers). However, this fever can also be completely absent, especially in infants, toddlers and people with defensive defenses. In addition to the above signs, there may also be symptoms of the infection that triggered the blood poisoning.

A red line on the skin (e.g. on the arm), which is repeatedly mentioned as a sign of sepsis, actually rarely plays a role. This occurs when there is inflammation of lymphatic vessels (lymphangitis). However, sepsis can develop as a complication of such an inflammation, the so-called "false" blood poisoning.

Detect blood poisoning in good time

"Sepsis is caused by certain pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms," explains the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) on their website.

“These enter the lymphatic system and the blood from an entry point in the body. Injuries and inflammations in various organs such as pneumonia or tooth infection are responsible, ”the experts write.

According to current figures, up to 300,000 people in Germany suffer from blood poisoning each year.

Excessive inflammatory reactions can then lead to organ failure and circulatory collapse within a very short time. Around a fifth of patients do not survive the out of control infection.

Early diagnosis is very important here. Various symptoms indicate blood poisoning, but not all of them have to occur at the same time.

Affected people can develop a very high fever with chills, but also low temperatures. Other symptoms include rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and a drop in blood pressure.

Confusion, drowsiness and a pale gray complexion are also suspicious, according to the TK.

“These signs can be attributed, among other things, to a lack of oxygen in the organs. In the further course the condition worsens visibly, “explains the health insurance. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Daily Mail: Model, 23, reveals she battled sepsis and 'could have lost her leg' after she developed a BLISTER from trendy shoes she had barely worn, (accessed: August 6, 2019), Daily Mail
  • Techniker Krankenkasse (TK): What is blood poisoning (sepsis) ?, (accessed: August 6, 2019), Techniker Krankenkasse (TK)

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