In Fight to Save 20-Year-Old Model's Life From COVID, Doctors Will Amputate Legs

An aspiring model from St. Petersburg, Florida, has been in the hospital fighting for her life for nearly two weeks and will now get both of her legs amputated after getting sick with COVID-19.

Claire Bridges, 20, was born with a congenital heart condition. Although vaccinated, she tested positive for coronavirus and has since developed a life-threatening complication.

Bridges was admitted to Tampa General Hospital on January 16 with severe leg pain, then diagnosed with COVID myocarditis, rhabdomyolysis, mild pneumonia, cyanotic and acidosis. A few hours after being admitted, her heart stopped.

Empty bed in a hospital ward
An empty bed in a hospital ward. Peter Horrox/iStock

Doctors performed CPR and revived her. Within two hours Bridges twice more coded and was revived by hospital staff.

The next morning, Bridges was placed on life support and given a TandemHeart—a device that provides a steady supply of oxygenated blood to organs. A few hours after that, she was placed on continuous dialysis because of failing kidneys.

While all these complications took a toll, pressure in Bridges' legs was not allowing blood to flow.

"She wasn't getting circulation to her legs and, because of that, there was a lot of muscle damage," said her best friend Heather Valdes to WTVT.

Doctors decided that the damage to her legs was too severe and irreversible—they needed to be amputated.

Instead of being heartbroken after hearing the news, Bridges still had high spirits.

Her father, Wayne Bridges, posted her reaction on Facebook.

"When the moment came to let her know about losing her legs the doctor handled it beautifully but held nothing back," her father wrote. "Claire whispered 'I want Bionic legs' and smiled."

When the doctor asked if she had any questions, she simply replied, "Thank you for saving my life."

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Since her story began circulating the internet, two different GoFundMe pages have been created to help with Bridges' medical and living expenses. The two pages combined have raised over $70,000.

"Claire also faces a long and challenging recovery, and our hope is to give her the best resources possible for her ongoing healthcare needs," her family wrote.

Although she has a long road to recovery, Bridges' family and friends are hopeful she'll get through this tough time.

Claire is still on life support and will have her legs amputated on Friday.

"I think she's going to make the best out of this and have many opportunities to come into her life," Valdes said to WTVT. "Just take [COVID] seriously and realize it is not a joke."