Grandmother, 69, has both legs amputated after being bitten by insects in her sleep

A Cork grandmother has lost both her legs following 'months of incredible pain' after being bitten by insects while sleeping in her own bed.
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A grandmother from Ireland has lost both her legs following 'months of incredible pain' after being bitten by insects while sleeping in her own bed.

Josie Rowley, 69, had lived in the Cork village of Durrus for 40 years and is a well-known and much-loved member of the community. Born in the UK, she travelled to Ireland in the early 1980s, where she raised six children. Josie also has 12 beloved grandchildren, many of which lived near her old home in West Cork.

Our sister title CorkBeo reported Josie's life has changed forever after she suffered an aggressive infection that meant she had to have both legs amputated. One morning last September, she woke up to see that she had a number of small, itchy insect bites on her shins. She naturally assumed they would heal on her own - but over the following weeks, the wounds started to become infected and became surrounded by painful ulcers.

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Josie's granddaughter took her to visit her GP late last year, who referred her to the Mercy Hospital. Her loved ones said Josie's doctors were "amazing" and did everything they could - but over the coming months, her infection continued to spread along her legs, leaving her in so much pain she could no longer walk. Eventually, Josie had to have both limbs amputated to stop her condition from getting any worse.

Josie's daughter Jen said her mother had underlying medical conditions and she was finally taken in for the procedure on March 6 this year. After weeks of rehab, Josie was discharged and is now living with Jen and her children in Carrigaline.

Jen explained: "It's been a huge shock for everybody. If it was left any longer, it would have just kept spreading and she was in so much pain. One night I had to take her to the doctor at 2am because it had just gotten so bad."

"Both her legs were amputated above her knees as circulation had basically stopped in her lower legs. She was such an independent and active person, always getting involved in her community. Considering it all, she's been really taking it in her stride but she does get very low now and again - realising she can't do what she used to do anymore. Her old home was a two-story house which obviously wasn't suitable anymore, so now she's living in Carrigaline with me."

Jen has since left her job at a petrol station to look after her mom and is now applying for the carer's allowance. Jen told CorkBeo that the incident has isolated Josie from the rest of her family, as many of her loved ones are based in West Cork and are unable to travel to meet her.

To help Josie during this challenging time, the wider Durrus community have rallied to support her as she slowly adapts to this major change in her life. Her loved ones are now raising funds for a new wheelchair-accessible vehicle to help give her back some of the freedom she lost over the past year.

Jen said: "It would make such a different to her, being able to take her back to her old home and for social aspects too. She was always going out to the Bantry Market and was seeing her friends, and this would be brilliant at taking her to and from all of her appointments."

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