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Woman, 36, pleads for toes to be amputated after losing one to mystery illness caused after slipping on wet steps

A WOMAN has pleaded for her toes to be amputated after she lost one to a mystery illness after slipping on wet steps.

Portia Buscombe, 36, has already lost her big right toe after the tumble as she left work in July last year.

Portia Buscombe lost her big right toe after the tumble as she left work[/caption]
Portia was injured after slipping on stairs[/caption]
Portia has now pleaded for further amputations[/caption]

The chef can still not walk or go out unaided as she said the ‘indescribable’ pain has continued to spread through both her feet.

But despite multiple tests and scans, doctors have been unable to diagnose her condition.

And Portia has now pleaded for them to carry out further amputations immediately so she can start to try and build her life.

Portia, of Bodmin, Cornwall, said: “I was going out to my car and there are six steps situated at the back that I slipped down.

“I got a tiny cut on my right big toe and developed an ulcer. It spread and took off the nail off, leaving it red raw.

“The orthopaedic surgery said he had never seen anything like it and did not know what it was but said the toe had to come off. It was amputated 36 weeks after the accident.

“Everything was fine for about nine days and then it started in the left big toe, then on the right second toe and then in all of them. There are now alterations in all of them.

“The right second toe has a big hole and a joint sticking out and no feeling. The bone is on show. The left big toe is also basically just red raw again and has a load of physical holes in it with fragments of bones coming out.

“There can not give me any diagnosis and have no idea. Blood tests have been sent to specialists all over the country to try and get an explanation but I have been asking for months for them to just take them all off.”


Portia said she is currently being looked after by her 19-year-old daughter and has not been able to work, drive or go out unaided for more than a year.

She has been in and out of hospital six times for various treatments and has now been told they will amputate further toes – but can’t do this until September.

She added: “They seemed more interested in finding out what it is than dealing with the pain. I feel like a guinea pig and all they are doing is trying to find out what it is to make a name for themselves.

“Because of this I’ve had no life for a year and I cannot do anything.

“I have been told even without any toes, I could drive and have a relatively normal life. At the moment I have to walk on my heels and can not stand up on my toes.

“I have just been discharged from hospital after another 13 days and told they cannot amputate until September.

“Everything has been looked at and done and they just want to keep me as I am and try different things. I am not trying any more. I can’t cope with it.

“I am completely in the dark about what is wrong with me. All I know is that I fell so unwell.

“I just need them to take them all off. They are all going the same way and the best thing is to get rid of them.

“I just want them gone and can not handle the pain any longer. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. I have been so unwell but they can not pinpoint what the problem is.

“It has now been 55 weeks since the accident and I certainly never foresaw what would happen.

“I have no life. I can not drive or leave the house without my daughter and can not walk properly. I am also now medicated for seizures but I am told they were purely down to the pain.”

Royal Cornwall Hospital said it couldn’t comment on individual cases.

But a spokesperson added: “Although our hospitals are really busy at present, we will always do our utmost to give everyone the care we would want for ourselves and our loved ones; we are sorry when anyone is unhappy with their experience.”

They said the hospital would “always look into any concerns” and ask patients, or the next of kin, to contact the patient experience team.

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