Brave Bethany taking steps to recovery

A BRAVE youngster who had her leg amputated after nearly dying from a rare heart condition as a baby has taken her first steps with the help of a prosthetic leg.

A BRAVE youngster who had her leg amputated after nearly dying from a rare heart condition as a baby has taken her first steps with the help of a prosthetic leg.

Only 18 months ago Bethany Levett's mum and dad suffered every parent's worst nightmare when her heart stopped for 40 minutes.

Bethany had seemed healthy when her mother, Hayley, and father, Darren, brought her back from West Suffolk Hospital to their home in Stowmarket.

But just three weeks later, Bethany went cold and white and would not take any milk so her parents rushed her to hospital.

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The tiny youngster suffered a cardiac arrest and doctors had to give her a drug to kick start her heart, which is injected straight into the bone marrow.

The needle was just meant to rest in her leg but the first time doctors tried it, it did not work and the drugs burnt her leg as they were so powerful.

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They then tried it in her left leg and, although it worked, tragedy struck - the drug also paralysed her leg, making it go black to her toes.

She later had to have it amputated through the knee after being transferred to Guy's Hospital in London.

Following weeks of recovery Mr Levett, 32, and Mrs Levett, 28, were finally able to take their daughter home, where she met her sister, Chloe, now four-years-old.

And 18 months on, Bethany is like any other toddler; walking, exploring and occasionally having a disagreement with her older sister.

Mrs Levett said: "We got the leg in April but I think the doctor felt that it was too soon.

"At first she did not want to know. We had thought that when she got the leg that would be it and she would be off.

"We put it on her but we couldn't get her to stand up very well but then one day we put it on and she started pushing her trolley.

"I think in May we went to see the limb fitting people and they were quite surprised that she had got on so well and had taken to it.

"Then in June she walked to the radiator, let go of what she was holding and kept going.

"Darren was eating his dinner at the time and then all of a sudden she was walking.

"I sort of welled up. I didn't think that it would ever happen until it actually did."

She will not be able to wear a jointed leg until she is a bit bigger but she is now hurriedly walking around with hardly any bother.

Mrs Levett added: "She is walking around a lot better than I imagined she would.

"When we saw the paediatric consultant back in June he said that, for a 17 month-old, she had done better than other children with two legs, who do not normally start walking until they are 18 months.

"It was nice to buy shoes and for her to have two socks on. We've lost a lot of socks because she only had one on for so long so we lost the other."

Bethany has already had one extension to the prosthetic leg fitted as she is growing up so quickly, and she may need as many as three legs a year.

She still has her heart monitored but there has been no reoccurrence of the problem.

Mrs Levett said: "It's always at the back of my mind. Every time she is out of sorts there is always a worry that it is her heart. I don't think that it will ever go away."

But it looks like her problems early in life will not stop brave Bethany from getting the most out of life.

Mrs Levett said: "She was quite placid when she was younger but she is losing that and becoming more determined and she knows what she wants."

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