Sicamous woman survives 'nightmare' medical ordeal that resulted in leg amputation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Sicamous woman survives 'nightmare' medical ordeal that resulted in leg amputation

Jackie Paul is recovering after an above-the-knee-amputation that took place at Royal Inland Hospital.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Jackie Paul

A Sicamous woman, who has dedicated years to helping others overcome life challenges, is facing her own after having a leg amputation at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops.

Jackie Paul, 63, returned to her home Wednesday, Dec. 1, after a six-week medical ordeal that left her with an above-the-knee leg amputation.

Paul said the experience was “horrific,” as she watched her leg turn black and get cut off piece by piece.

“I had an aortic aneurism and went to the hospital, where I started getting blood clots in my leg,” she said. “Doctors operated but it didn’t work and my foot started to turn black. So they operated again, doing a 15 hour procedure to fix the veins, which nearly did me in. Finally I just said, ‘cut it off'.”

Paul said her leg turned black and she needed a below-the-knee amputation, but there were several delays due to staffing shortages.

“They kept postponing it because when people came in with COVID or from a car accident, I got bumped,” Paul said. “It was sheer fear wondering if and when I was going to get surgery. I had to just sit there and watch my leg rot. The hospital is full and there are not enough nurses and doctors to perform these surgeries.”

READ MORE: Nurse reports understaffing incident and continued burnout at Kamloops hospital

On Nov. 20, Paul panicked. She took to social media to share her story through a personal video, describing her situation as a “nightmare.”

“When I got on social media I knew I was going to die, my soul was dying,” she said. “You know that intuition when things are really going sideways. Almost immediately after I went to social media things started happening and moving ahead.”

Paul said the first amputation was not enough to get rid of the dead tissue and she ended up with an above-the-knee amputation. She feels relieved she is no longer fighting an infection and is healing, but her first night home this week hit her hard.

“This is my life now. There is a huge mourning and adjustment taking place. It is difficult reconnecting the mind and the different body.”

Paul is eager to build her strength back up so she can return to work at a treatment centre, where she has been helping others overcome alcohol and drug addictions.

READ MORE: Kamloops man assaulted for removing anti-homeless sign

Megan Kitagawa is a former client of Paul’s. She has set up an online fundraiser to raise money for a $50,000 prosthestic limb for her.

“I was a client at the treatment centre that she works at almost ten years ago and she was my counsellor,” Kitagawa said. “I have just learned so much from her. Everyone that knows her knows she tells it like it is and does it with love and honesty. I got the chance to work with her at the treatment centre, she believed in me and helped me become an active member of society.”

Kitagawa said prosthetics are very expensive and have to be replaced every five to ten years. She said Paul needs a good model because she is an active woman who enjoys riding her motorcycle, paddle boarding and hiking.

“If anyone is going to have the positivity and gumption it takes to get back to doing these activities it is Jackie,” Kitagawa said. 

Paul said she is surrounded by helping friends and family and is very grateful for the doctors and nurses at Royal Inland Hospital.

To make a donation toward Jackie Paul's prosthetic click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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