Caroline Coster returns to Bedford Hospital with a service animal

Caroline Coster with Cathy O'Brien, a nurse, and Duke, a sizable black and tan dog

A woman who had to have her hands and feet amputated after contracting sepsis is making an effort to repay the staff by bringing in her dog as a therapy animal.

In 2020, Bedford resident Caroline Coster, 60, was receiving treatment for covid when she became septic.

At Bedford Hospital, Mrs. Coster, a mother of two, ultimately required a quadruple amputation.

She claimed that being able to bring her dog in to assist staff had given her a renewed sense of purpose.

The hospital's induced coma nearly claimed the life of Mrs. Coster, a teacher, twice.

Duke, who is currently undergoing training to be a therapy dog, will make weekly visits.

The overactive immune system is what leads to sepsis. It starts attacking other body parts in addition to the infection instead of just fighting the infection.

The most common causes of sepsis are bacteria and viruses that cause lung diseases or diarrheal infections.

Caroline Coster with nurse Cathy O'Brien inside Bedford Hospital
It's wonderful to see Mrs. Coster doing well, said Cathy O'Brien, who assisted with her medical care.

Since I'm so appreciative of them, Mrs. Coster said it was difficult to see some of the staff who cared for her for the first time after she left the hospital.

"They helped me so much during such a trying time. ".

She explained how it felt like she had "come full circle" when she returned to the hospital to assist, adding: "To come back here and feel useful it's an amazing gift for me.

She said, "I think it's giving me as much, if not more, than it's supposed to be giving back to the hospital.".

One of the specialized nurses who assisted in treating Mrs. Coster, Cathy O'Brien, said it was "amazing" to see her return.

It was "wonderful," according to Ms. O'Brien, to see Mrs. Coster.

Having Duke as a therapy dog was "completely new" for the hospital, according to anaesthesia and critical care consultant Sarah Snape, who also assisted in treating Mrs. Coster. She added that it would benefit the critical care staff.

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