Survivor Stories: Clive Marshall, Bristol England

Here’s another survivor story. Clive Marshall is a 42-year old dad from Bristol who was infected with the Streptococcus A bacteria which causes the flesh-eating disease.

He survived the infection with the help of the staff of the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

From This is Bristol:

A dad-of-four lost his leg after he contracted a rare flesh-eating disease which nearly claimed his life.

Clive Marshall’s family were told he only had a one-in-10 chance of survival after he was rushed into the A&E department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

He suffered organ failure and surgeons had to amputate his left leg above his knee to save him.

Doctors said it would be 12 months before he could walk again but just four months on Mr Marshall, aged 42, has taken his first steps, with the help of a prosthetic leg, complete with Bristol Rovers badge.

Mr Marshall, of Ham Green, near Pill, had been feeling unwell for a couple of days and thought he had a cold, but when he awoke on June 15 he felt an agonising pain in his calf.

His GP sent him to the BRI with suspected deep vein thrombosis, but he was then referred to the A&E department, where doctors worked out he was suffering from necrotising fasciitis.

When the clinicians slit open Mr Marshall’s calf they found the tissue was dead and tests showed that the flesh-eating disease was caused by the streptococcus A bacteria.

Mr Marshall, who runs a money management business in Long Ashton, was in a coma for week and spent a fortnight in intensive care, followed by seven weeks in Frenchay Hospital.

Mr Marshall said: “Over the weekend it was my wife Stephanie’s 40th birthday, and I felt like I had a cold coming on and at her party on the Saturday everyone said I looked bad.

“The next day I had a high temperature and noticed pain from my knee to ankle. I went to bed early and when I woke up on the Monday I felt the worst pain I have ever had.

“The BRI saved my life. With strep A there have been cases of people dying within hours.”

His family were warned that Mr Marshall’s chances of survival were slim and his dad flew back from Spain and a friend jetted in from Helsinki in Finland to see him.

Mr Marshall, who has four children, said: “It was a bit traumatic.

“The doctors in A&E and the intensive care unit said it was rare but they had another case of necrotising fasciitis at the same time and they usually have one or two a year.

“We are lucky to have these hospitals.”

From Frenchay, Mr Marshall was referred to the Disablement Services Centre at Southmead Hospital, who were responsible for his new leg.

He said: “It was supposed to take 12 months before I could even contemplate walking.

“It is about setting goals. My next is to walk freely without crutches and to walk properly. At the moment it is taking a lot of time and strength.

“I have now got a season ticket for Southmead for life. Physiotherapy will carry on into next year and I am going to have to go for outpatients appointments.

“When I go for a fitting there are other guys there and there is a real camaraderie.”

Mr Marshall has kept a positive outlook and focused on making himself better. He said: “There are a lot of people worse off.

“It is only in the last week or so that it has hit home that I have a disability, but I am really positive.”

Mr Marshall became a Rovers fan in the 1970s when he used to accompany his dad Alan, who was the club photographer, to matches.

When he was asked whether there was anything he wanted on the limb he opted for the badge he remembered from his early days supporting the team.

“The guys said I could have anything I wanted on my leg and I asked if I could have the Bristol Rovers badge.

“People from Rovers sent over a copy of the badge for us.”

Mr Marshall and colleagues at Money Matters West Ltd have been supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust and he is determined to take part in an event in support of the cause when he can walk more easily.

And he is looking forward to returning to the Memorial Stadium for his first match since the ordeal next weekend, when his dad is back in the country.

Want more flesh eating survivor stories?