Footballer hospitalised with flu symptoms has legs amputated days before 21st birthday
His condition deteriorated rapidly and Levi, who works as a welder at JCB, went into septic shock and had multi-organ failure
An amateur footballer had both of his legs amputated days before his 21st birthday after becoming ill with flu symptoms.
Levi Dewey, now 21, suffered multiple organ failure after catching a form of the flu and subsequently suffered severe sepsis and at one point was described as the sickest person in the UK.
Levi’s family was told he only had a 30pc chance of survival leaving them devastated. The footballer from Willington, was sporty and lived an active lifestyle playing football for Willington FC and being a lifelong Derby County fan.
He had previously attended John Port Spencer Academy in Etwall, and completed an apprenticeship at age 16 for JCB, before taking up a job there full-time.
But on December 7 last Levi was taken to Royal Derby Hospital with flu-like symptoms and breathing difficulties. His condition deteriorated rapidly and Levi, who works as a welder at JCB, went into septic shock and had multi-organ failure.
Doctors discovered that he was suffering from influenza B and pneumococcal pneumonia.
Levi’s mother, Lara Dewey (47) said: “We were told fairly early on that Levi could potentially lose his legs and need an operation, we were prepared for this outcome if it was to save his life.
“Obviously, it’s going to be life-changing for everyone, but this is something we can work through as a family and we have such a strong and positive support network. Levi has always had a positive mindset and his glass is always half full.”
After his condition deteriorated further in Derby’s intensive therapy unit, Levi was transferred to Glenfield Hospital in Leicester to receive ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and full organ support.
He spent 20 days on ECMO - 14 of which were in an induced coma. He was gradually taken off organ support and, after 31 days, he was taken off a ventilator.
On January 9, Levi was moved back to Royal Derby for ongoing care, but two days later, he was informed that due to the severity of his sepsis he had contracted, he would need below-knee amputation on both of his legs.
“Despite this news, Levi remains optimistic about his future. He is so grateful to be alive after these life changing events,” his family wrote on a GoFundMe page raising money for him to walk again.
“We want Levi to have the best possible quality of life as a double amputee and therefore want to raise money to help with his recovery and the move from hospital to home.
“Later, once he has learnt to walk, we would like to provide him the best bespoke prosthetic legs so he is able to live as an independent life as possible, enjoying the many activities he did before this tragic event changed his life forever.”
The family have already raised almost £80,000 as of January 30.
Mother Lara, a child practitioner, said: “Initially we were looking to raise £10,000 but as you can see this has been exceeded and the response has been extremely overwhelming.
“It’s overwhelming and emotional and we are all speechless. It’s amazing how supportive friends, family, colleagues, communities and also strangers have been towards this cause and also their generosity.
“Initially the money will be used to buy Levi a wheelchair and for home improvements, including ramps and showering facilities. Once he’s able to walk again we will look at buying him the best prosthetic limbs possible privately and any further equipment he will need.”
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