Troubled firm at centre of NHS body parts scandal 'underestimated' scale of human waste
Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) allowed hundreds of tonnes of waste from hospitals, including body parts, to pile up at four of its sites in England.
Officials today announced the company, which collected in the region of £31 million last year, has been stripped of 15 contracts it held with individual NHS trusts.
And now a whistleblower has told the MailOnline the firm’s cost-cutting tactics to take on more work and win extra disposal contracts was a ‘recipe for disaster’.
He revealed he was shocked to discover HES did not own an incinerator at the site he worked at in Tyneside and had to ship its waste to other rival firms to burn it.
Healthcare Environment Services (HES) allowed hundreds of tonnes of waste from hospitals, including human body parts, to pile up at its facilities (pictured: a site in Normanton, Wakefield, which has a mountain of 350 tonnes of waste)
HES is reportedly attempting to export 750 tonnes of pharmaceutical waste to Holland, according to the Health Service Journal (pictured: the firm's office)
A spokesperson for the company today denied two of nine claims put to it by the whistleblower and said it needed to investigate the other seven.
The firm, based in Scotland, has blamed a lack of ‘incineration capacity in the market’ and desire to reduce the use of landfill on the pile-up of clinical waste.
The unnamed ex-HES employee, who worked at the firm for four months before quitting, refused to be identified over fears of reprisals, including violence.
He said the firm – ran by a husband and wife - ‘under-estimated’ the huge amount of waste it would have to deal with by taking on contracts with dozens of NHS trusts.
It has since emerged that HES took on 'too much work’ and instead of burning the hundreds of tonnes of clinical waste, it has stockpiled it for months.
The firm’s sites in Normanton, Newcastle, Nottingham and Bradford have all breached environmental permits set to them by Government officials.
The ex-employee, who left at the start of 2016, revealed HES cut costs so much it refused to buy gloves, trousers and vaccines for staff.
HES allegedly approached the man from a rival firm, when it won an undisclosed consortium contract to dispose of NHS waste in North East England in October 2015.
Healthcare Environment Services Ltd, paid millions to burn waste from hospitals at 50 trusts across England, reportedly took on too much work (biohazard signs on a vehicle at the firm's site in Normanton)
In a statement to Parliament, Health Minister Stephen Barclay said NHS Improvement concluded HES 'failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits
The Environment Agency was first alerted to the fact that Healthcare Environment Services Ltd had a backlog of waste - including body parts - building up.
Healthcare Environment Services Ltd was hit with a series of warnings and enforcement notices giving the firm deadlines by which the waste must be incinerated by.
The Environment Agency alerts Government ministers to the problem.
New Health Secretary Matt Hancock chairs an emergency COBRA meeting to discuss the scandal.
He sets aside £1million to help affected hospitals.
The Environment Agency announced that it has found the firm in breach of its permits at five of its six sites.
It also says it is launching a criminal investigation into the debacle.
He told MailOnline: ‘It was quite clear from the outset that HES had won the contract on a very low profit margin.’
The ex-employee added: [HES] left little wiggle room for any issues they encountered or any large increase in waste levels.
‘They were asking advice on waste levels and had clearly under-estimated the amount of incineration only waste they were about to receive.
‘They were already struggling with this waste stream around various other sites and once I found out they did not own an incinerator I knew they were in for a rough ride.’
He revealed the waste pile at HES’ site in Normanton, West Yorkshire, was there in 2015 and ‘has remained there ever since’.
The site is currently housing around 350 tonnes of amputated limbs and human flesh, among other clinical waste - five times more than its permit allows.
Neighbours backing directly onto the disposal unit last week complained about the 'foul' smell coming from the HES site.
The ex-employee, who left the firm in February 2016, said he ‘dreads to think’ what is in the Normanton unit now, or how long it has been there.
The whistleblower said: ‘[HES] refused to buy latex gloves for staff, citing the cost. Yet they expected staff to handle raw untreated clinical waste.
‘They used to decant the bins daily into anything they could find, in order to get the bins back. But these waste types should not be mixed.
‘They refused to buy needle-resistant gloves and trousers for plant staff and drivers, and this placed staff at huge risk of needle injuries.’
Health officials insisted the waste would not pose a threat to patients or the wider public, adding that contingency plans were being put in place (a HES lorry in Normanton)
Officials have known for months about the stockpiled body parts scandal that has shaken the NHS, the company at the centre of the crisis claimed last week.
The Environment Agency has been updated on the crisis at sites ran by Healthcare Environmental Services every week since January, it claimed.
The firm also alleged the government was first made aware of problems as long ago as 2015.
Yet the NHS is now having to spend millions on last-minute emergency measures to deal with tonnes of stockpiled waste. Some may be stored in ‘open yards’.
The Environment Agency told the Department of Health and Social Care about the problem in July but the details were only made public on Thursday when leaked documents were revealed by the Health Service Journal.
HES, now subject to a criminal investigation over stockpiling medical waste, claimed it is a victim of a government ‘witch-hunt’.
In a letter to NHS trusts, seen by the Daily Mail, Garry Pettigrew, managing director of Healthcare Environmental Services, claimed the NHS plan to deal with the crisis was ‘completely unworkable, illegal and financially unviable’.
Two firms in Liverpool and Wrexham, for example, had been asked to store a combined 330 tonnes of waste outside their building, even though it would usually be earmarked ‘incineration only’.
Another in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, had ‘received dispensation’ to store 300 tonnes in an ‘open yard’, he claimed.
Mr Pettigrew wrote: ‘We have found ourselves in the middle of a witch-hunt towards making this company commercially unviable and [a] personal vendetta being organised behind the scenes to somehow justify putting in place emergency measures.
‘We have highlighted to the Environment Agency, and customers, since October 2015 that there was a serious reduction in incineration capacity. The main reasons for this was... ageing infrastructure, which is unreliable, coupled with no investment in new equipment due to cost constraints from the customer base.’
The Environment Agency was first alerted to the problem in March this year and hit the company with a series of warning notices and enforcement orders giving them deadline to get rid of the waste (pictured: workers outside the Normanton site)
Scottish hospitals are preparing emergency plans to store clinical waste amid claims Healthcare Environment Services may be unable to process it.
The firm, based in Shotts, Lanarkshire, has the Scotland-wide contract for clinical waste removal.
Health boards are devising plans to store waste on-site for up to three days if it cannot be removed and incinerated, amid concern that HES has taken on more work than it can handle.
One NHS source in Scotland said: 'We’ve been told it will be stored for 72 hours, but in reality there is a real prospect of it being for weeks and even longer.
'The idea is that porters will decant clinical waste into large containers that will be kept in hospitals.
'In terms of body parts, they will be stored, probably in mortuaries, but in many hospitals space will be tight as we get into winter.'
The row raises the prospect of hospitals being filled with large amounts of potentially hazardous waste for months.
It is believed the contingency plans may be activated in Scotland as soon as next week.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: 'this is an extremely worrying development and it’s absolutely right that contingency plans are being drawn up.
'It is imperative SNP ministers ensure all clinical waste is safely disposed of.
'If this company cannot carry out its contractual obligations it is vital the SNP organises a replacement service immediately.'
Just over 300 tons of clinical waste is collected from hospitals north of the Border each year.
One insider close to the row in Scotland said: 'This isn’t a new issue – the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been working on compliance with this company for some time.'
He also added: ‘The majority of staff were not offered the necessary vaccines that employees should have working with clinical waste.’
The firm allegedly went through 30 drivers during the time he spent at HES, which he blamed on the ‘very aggressive’ management style.
The ex-employee added: ‘They run on an atmosphere of fear and were prolific at enticing people from decent jobs with promises that never came true.
‘Once people were stuck, they basically used their ignorance at regulations regarding clinical waste to ensure they could break and bend the rules.’
A HES spokesperson told MailOnline on the phone it was 'b*******' that it refused to stock latex gloves, vaccines and trousers for staff.
They also denied it still does not own a high temperature incinerator needed to burn some NHS waste and said it shares with other firms.
Health Minister Stephen Barclay has announced today that NHS Improvement concluded HES 'failed to demonstrate they were operating within their contractual limits'.
Fifteen NHS trusts had served termination notices to HES, with the work being taken over by Mitie. The new contract was 'fully operational' from this morning.
In the wake of the scandal, NHS Improvement issued a letter to HES and gave them 48 hours to provide evidence it was 'operating within legal and contractual parameters'.
Mr Barclay told MPs: 'NHSI concluded that HES failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits.
'Consequently, 15 NHS Trusts served termination notices to HES formally to terminate their contracts at 4pm on Sunday October 7.'
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has been granted an urgent question on the issue in the House of Commons this afternoon, Labour said.
HES has previously denied any wrongdoing and insisted that all clinical waste is correctly stored, with anatomical waste kept in refrigerated units.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock defended the Government's handling of the situation, given that concerns were raised in July.
NHS sources said the company had taken on too much work and was not able to dispose of the waste in a timely manner
'My clear goal throughout has been to make sure that the public are safe and also that NHS services can continue. We have secured those goals.
'We have now moved the contract away from the company that was failing to deliver, we have got a new company in and that's the point at which we could go public about this issue.
'The waste is now being removed effectively and we are across this subject to make sure that we can put in place systems that work sustainably for the long term.'
The Environment Agency last week announced it had begun a criminal investigation.
It comes as health chiefs last week asked six other waste disposal firms to step in and help NHS hospitals amid the ongoing crisis.
The Government called on the help of waste disposal firms Augean, Grundon, PHS, Stericycle/SRCL, Tradebe and Veolia, it has been reported.
Local health chiefs have already been warned that they may have to store their own waste in special trailers directly outside hospitals.
Healthcare Environment Services Ltd has breached its permits at five sites. Above: The site in Normanton, West Yorkshire
Neighbours of HES' waste disposal unit in Normanton, West Yorkshire, last week complained about the 'foul' smell.
The unnamed man, who works at YESSSelectrical, said: ‘There is a bit of a weird smell at times.’
He said he and his colleagues notice it ‘every now and again’.
The Government called on the help of waste disposal firms Augean, Grundon, PHS, Stericycle/SRCL, Tradebe and Veolia.
As well as HES' site in Normanton, its sites in Newcastle, Nottingham and Bradford have breached its environmental permits.
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October 10, 2018
Sources: Daily Mail
lled over fears they may have given users the wrong results. </p><p>Health officials today warned the unsafe kits may lead to a rise in cases of chlamydia and other nasty bugs, as well as HIV.</p><p>The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) today revealed amid fears they produce false negative results.</p><p>The Government body, which polices the safety of medical products, revealed it has seized 10,000 of the home-testing kits since 2015.</p><p>Health officials today warned the unsafe kits may lead to a rise in cases of chlamydia and other nasty bugs, as well as HIV (pictured, one of the seized kits)</p><p>A false negative test result occurs when the test shows negative and the person is instead positive, leading them to believe they don't have an STI.</p><p>The tests were seized as part of the MHRA's #FakeMeds campaign, which aims to crackdown on online sites selling fake and faulty products.</p><p>Online marketplaces are a known avenue where potentially unsafe test kits are being sold.</p><p>Dr Oscar Duke, a TV doctor, who starred in 24 Hours In A&E, spoke of his concern that the fake kits could cause a surge in STIs.</p><p>He said: 'It is terrifying that there are so many fake and dangerous STI test kits out there, which could cause people to unwittingly spread infections and diseases.</p><p>'Be safe and make sure you are buying legitimate products.</p><p>'If you suspect you may have an STI, please visit your local GP or healthcare professional – it’s much better to be safe than sorry.' </p><p>Michael Brady, medical director at the Terrence Higgins Trust said it was 'extremely worrying' to hear about the illegal and fake tests. </p><p>The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency today revealed thousands home-testing HIV and STI tests have given false negative results.</p><p>The Government body, which polices the safety of medical products, said it has seized 10,000 of the kits since 2015.</p><p>In an attempt to help people avoid buying faulty or fake tests, officials said: </p><p>· Do not use any kit that has not been sealed, that has damaged packaging or is outside of its expiry date</p><p>· Make sure that the instructions for use are clear, easy to follow and written in understandable language</p><p>Approved self-testing kits carry a CE mark - this shows that they have gone through the proper regulatory processes and, when used in accordance with their instructions, are safe to use. </p><p>Approved kits should also clearly state they are intended for use as self-tests.</p><p>He added: 'It’s great that medical advances now mean there are increasingly more HIV and STI testing options available online.</p><p>'Improving access, choice and convenience of where and how to test are key components of our approach to HIV prevention and tackling STIs.' </p><p>Graeme Tunbridge, MHRA device's group manager, offered advice for the public to avoid fake kits.</p><p>He said: 'Know what you’re buying by purchasing self-test kits and other medical devices from a safe and legitimate provider. </p><p>'Look for the distance selling logo which means that the supplier is registered with the MHRA to sell medicines to the public and has been accredited as a legitimate source. </p><p>'Make sure that the test is easy to use and has clear instructions.' </p><p>Public Health England figures show there were 422,000 diagnoses of STIs made in England in 2017 - around the same number that was reported the year before.</p><p>However, cases of syphilis and gonorrhoea rocketed by around 20 per cent. </p><p>Separate MHRA research has revealed people are prepared to buy risky products over the internet.</p><p>A survey conducted by the body found a quarter of young people have bought medical products online in the past 12 months.</p><p>And almost 1 in 10 (nine per cent) admitted to buying products they knew, or strongly suspected, to be falsified.</p><p>Around 60 per cent had bought STI home-testing kits to avoid the embarrassment of buying the kits in a shop or pharmacy. </p><p>The seizures come after the MHRA earlier this month revealed 58,000 faulty Clear & Simple digital pregnancy tests were being recalled by the Chinese manufacturer.</p><p>Thousands of women were feared to have been falsely told they are pregnant after taking the faulty tests sold on the high street. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
d lowest by 2040 have today been named by scientists. </p><p>The UK is expected to remain outside of the top 20, ranking 23rd with a lifespan of 83.3, and the US will drop from 43rd to 64th place – with an increase of just one year – the study claims.</p><p>Spain tops the charts, with people being born in 2040 expected to live until they are 85.8 years old. Whereas Lesotho, within South Africa , will be worst off, with its average life expectancy likely to be just 57.3 years</p><p>Experts say the improvements of recent generations are likely to slow down because of health problems like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, alcohol and tobacco. </p><p>The global health forecasts were made by researchers from the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.</p><p>In research published in medical journal The Lancet, they revealed people in every country in the world are likely to live longer in 2040 than they do now.</p><p>But the scientists predict there will be a rise in the number of people dying from non-contagious diseases like cancer and lung and kidney disease.</p><p>How quickly countries' life expectancies rise will depend on how well governments deal with these growing health threats.</p><p>'Inequalities will continue to be large,' said researcher Dr Christopher Murray. </p><p>Researchers from Washington University have predicted the average lifespans of countries around the world and predict more people will die of non-contagious diseases like cancer (file image)</p><p>'In a substantial number of countries, too many people will continue earning relatively low incomes, remain poorly educated, and die prematurely. </p><p>'But nations could make faster progress by helping people tackle the major risks, especially smoking and poor diet.'</p><p>Beneath Spain in the top 10 will be Japan, with a 2040 life expectancy of 85.7 years, Singapore (85.4), Switzerland (85.2), Portugal and Italy (84.5), Israel (84.4), France (84.3), and Luxembourg and Australia (84.1).</p><p>All the countries are in the current top 10 for life expectancy, except Portugal and Israel which are predicted to replace Andorra and Iceland, currently sixth and ninth.</p><p>African countries continue to have the worst rates of premature death with people in the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Somalia and Zimbabwe still expected to die before the age of 65 by 2040.</p><p>The bottom 10 in 2040 will consist of the Central African Republic (58.4), Zimbabwe (61.3), Somalia (63.6), Swaziland (65.1), Afghanistan (65.2), Kiribati (65.7), Micronesia (66.2), Papua New Guina (66.3) and the Solomon Islands (66.5). </p><p>The average lifespan in the UK is set to increase from 80.8 years to 83.3, moving Brits up the world league table from 26th to 23rd. </p><p>Figures from the Office for National Statistics last month showed there was virtually no extension of life expectancy between 2015 and 2017.</p><p>It is the first time since modern measurements were launched nearly 40 years ago that life expectancy has stalled.</p><p>Researchers from the University of Washington are slightly more optimistic, predicting that if trends continue as they are, the average person in the UK will live a year longer with each decade that passes. </p><p>But average life expectancy in the US, one of the world’s richest nations, is forecast to increase by only 1.1 years to 79.8.</p><p>Experts suggest this is likely the result of more obesity-related diseases, such as heart disease and several cancers.</p><p>Study author Dr Kyle Foreman said countries could change their outcomes with better public health initiatives.</p><p>He said: ‘The future of the world’s health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories.</p><p>'But whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers.'</p><p>To make the predictions, scientists looked at the impact of 79 health factors including smoking, body mass index (BMI), and lack of clean water and sanitation on causes of death around the world.</p><p>In 2016 – the last time the study was carried out – four of the top 10 causes of premature death were non-communicable diseases and injuries.</p><p>The new forecast shows that by 2040 this figure increases to eight with heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, chronic kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, lung cancer and road accident injuries are all in the top 10 causes of premature death in 2040.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
in Canada for 30 years. He wrote in his high school yearbook that his dream was to open a cafe in Amsterdam, the Dutch city where people have legally smoked weed in coffee shops since the 1970s.</p><p>Turns out, Clarke didn't have to go nearly so far to open his own retail cannabis outlet.</p><p>On Wednesday, Canada becomes the second and largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace. Uruguay was first. Clarke, 43, will be among the first to legally sell recreational marijuana when his shop opens at midnight in Newfoundland, Canada's easternmost province.</p><p>"I am living my dream. Teenage Tom Clarke is loving what I am doing with my life right now," he said.</p><p>At least 111 legal pot shops are planning to open across the nation of 37 million people on the first day, according to an Associated Press survey of the provinces. That is a small slice of what ultimately will be a much larger marketplace.</p><p>No stores will open in Ontario. The most populous province is working on its regulations and doesn't expect stores until next spring.</p><p>Canadians everywhere will be able to order marijuana products through websites run by provinces or private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by mail.</p><p>Canada has had legal medical marijuana since 2001, and amid excitement over the arrival of legal recreational pot, many in the industry spent the last days of prohibition on tasks familiar to any retail business — completing displays, doing mock openings and training employees to use sales-tracking software.</p><p>"It's been hectic," said Roseanne Dampier, who joined her husband — both former welders — in opening Alternative Greens, a licensed store in Edmonton, Alberta. "We have been extremely busy just trying to be able to meet that deadline."</p><p>Canada's federal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, spent about two years planning for legalization, fueled by a desire to bring dealers like Clarke out of the black market and into a regulated system.</p><p>Canada's national approach has allowed for unfettered industry banking, inter-province shipments of cannabis and billions of dollars in investment — a sharp contrast with national prohibition in the United States. Nine U.S. states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and more than 30 have approved medical marijuana.</p><p>A patchwork of regulations has spread in Canada as each province takes its own approach within the framework set out by the federal government. Some are operating government-run stores, some are allowing private retailers, some both.</p><p>Alberta and Quebec have set the minimum age for purchase at 18, while others have made it 19.</p><p>The provinces also have been able to decide for themselves how much to mark up the marijuana beyond the 10 percent or $1 per gram imposed by the federal government, and whether to allow residents to grow up to four plants at home.</p><p>Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington-based lobbying organization that has been pressing for legalization since 1995, said it is time for the U.S. to follow Canada's lead.</p><p>"Canada is setting a strong example for how to end marijuana prohibition at the national level and replace it with a system of regulated production and sales that is largely governed at the local level," he said. "The U.S. and other countries grappling with the complexities of such a significant policy shift will have an excellent opportunity to learn from the Canadian experience."</p><p>As Canada welcomes legalization, supply shortages could develop, as happened in some U.S. states when legalization arrived.</p><p>Trevor Fencott, chief executive of Fire and Flower, said his company has 15 Alberta stores staffed and ready to sell marijuana, but the province has supplied only enough product to open three of them Wednesday.</p><p>"We're aware of some of the kinks or growing pains that come with creating an industry out of whole cloth in 24 months," Fencott said.</p><p>Clarke and Brenda Tobin, who is opening a store in Labrador City in Newfoundland and Labrador, expect to sell out quickly after not getting as much from licensed producers as they ordered.</p><p>"We expect to run out. I don't know the first day, but I don't expect we'll have it too many days," Tobin said.</p><p>Tobin and her son Trevor plan to open their pot shop at 4:20 p.m., a reference to 420, slang for the consumption of cannabis. Tobin, a longtime convenience store owner, said they will be cutting a ribbon and cake.</p><p>She doesn't expect to make much money off the pot itself, noting Newfoundland's 8 percent cap on retail pot profits. She hopes to make money from pipes, bongs and marijuana paraphernalia.</p><p>"There's no money in the product itself," she said. "You got to sell $250,000 worth of product in order to make $20,000. That's not even paying someone's salary."</p><p>Ontario won't have any stores open until April, after the new conservative government scrapped a plan for state-owned stores in favor of privately run shops. British Columbia on the Pacific Coast will have just one store open on Wednesday, but many more are expected to open in coming months.</p><p>Brittany Guerra, 30, shut down her illegal dispensary in Hamilton, Ontario, last month so she could open a legal store next year. She has been a pot activist for more than a decade and never thought this day would come.</p><p>"Everybody would say, 'It's never going to be legal, you are dreaming,'" but obviously it worked," she said. "We do feel vindicated."</p><p>The Canadian government is also expected to announce that those with a criminal record for marijuana possession of 30 grams or less will be able to apply for a pardon when the drug becomes legal, according to a senior government official.</p><p>The official was not authorized to speak publicly ahead of Wednesday's announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Web exclusive: Bryan Llenas speaks with families sharing stories of addiction</p><p>“It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction,” her parents wrote. “To some, Maddie was just a junkie – when they saw her addiction they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them. Because Maddie was hilarious, and warm, and fearless, and resilient. She could and would talk to anyone, and when you were in her company you wanted to stay.” </p><p>"Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late."</p><p>“In a system that seems to have hardened itself against addicts and is failing them every day, she befriended and delighted cops, social workers, public defenders and doctors, who advocated for and believed in her till the end,” the obituary said. </p><p>The obituary noted that following the birth of her son, “Maddie tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we have ever seen anyone try at anything. But she relapsed and ultimately lost custody of her son, a loss that was unbearable.” </p><p>It said that the last two years were particularly hard on the single mom, but over the summer she remained sober for 12 days, which were “full of swimming and Disney movies and family dinners, we believed as we always did that she would overcome her disease and make the life for herself we knew she deserved.” </p><p>The family did not reveal which drug Linsenmeir overdosed on before her death, but they urged others who are struggling with addiction to “know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.” </p><p>Linsenmeir’s family is not the first to open up about their child’s addiction in an obituary, with more and more families choosing to use the forum as a platform to warn others about the dangers and heartbreak of addiction. </p><p>The family asked for donations to be made to the Turning Point Center in lieu of flowers, and that those who judge others with addiction issues to “educate yourself about this disease, because that is what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness.” </p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>A woman who lost nearly 100 pounds and had a tummy tuck to remove the resulting folds of saggy skin has told how she was left dicing with death after a flesh-eating bug ate huge chunks of her stomach.</p><p>Weighing over 300 pounds at her heaviest and determined to lose weight, events planner Laura Franks, 36, had gastric bypass surgery in 2013, but looked "like an empty bag" when her sudden weight loss left aprons of excess flesh hanging around her tummy.</p><p>Wanting to restore her confidence once and for all, Franks, of Atlanta, Ga.,  paid $5,000 for a tummy tuck, liposuction and Brazilian bum lift at a clinic in Cali, Colombia, in February this year.</p><p>But, instead of getting a dream body, she caught a flesh-eating bug, which ravaged her stomach, saying: "I was convinced I’d be going home in a body bag.”</p><p>Franks is speaking out about her nightmare experience just as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)  issued a stark warning about Brazilian bum lifts, following the death of two women who'd had the procedure.</p><p>But, far from having surgery on a whim, Franks, whose boyfriend is a rapper and actor who goes by the name of Solo Styles, researched everything thoroughly before proceeding.</p><p>“I looked at places all over the world, including here in the USA," she said.</p><p>“I wasn’t set on going anywhere, in particular, I just wanted what was best for me, but I eventually found a place in Colombia that looked great," Franks said. "That’s a decision I now regret every single day."</p><p>“But the pictures of other patients looked fantastic and people sounded really happy with what they’d had done," she said. “I contacted the clinic and got a reply right away. While surgeons from different clinics had ignored me, this felt like a really personal, professional reply.”</p><p>Franks was an active youngster but had started gaining weight at university -  leaving her desperately self-conscious about her size when she hit 300 pounds.</p><p>Discovering she was eligible for a gastric bypass, where surgical staples are used to create a small pouch at the top of the stomach, which then connects directly to the small intestine, she happily went under the knife.</p><p>To her delight, her weight plummeted - but she was left with saggy skin more unsightly than the fat it had replaced.</p><p>“I was left with an awful lot of excess skin," she said. “I worked really hard to try and tone up but, while the muscles underneath were getting stronger, the skin stayed put. It was difficult to have lost all that weight, then be dealing with another body confidence issue."</p><p>“I looked like an empty bag, and whatever I tried, the skin wouldn’t tone up," she said.</p><p>Eventually, Sparks decided surgery was her only solution and spent over a year thoroughly researching where to go, pouring over online reviews and testimonials and following the journeys of other patients via Instagram.</p><p>And in February this year, despite her boyfriend warning her against it, she headed to Colombia.</p><p>“My boyfriend told me I was beautiful the way I was, and that I didn’t need to change anything, but I went ahead anyway as I had this planned from before I'd met him," Sparks said. “Now I wish every day that I had listened.”</p><p>Following blood tests at a nearby hospital, Sparks arrived at the clinic on February 28 this year, describing it as a “beautiful, welcoming building.”</p><p>Changing into her surgical stockings and gown, everything seemed fine, but when she was taken down to the operating room, doubts began to creep in.</p><p>“I looked around and things just didn’t seem right. There were plastic patio chairs in the room and personal items, like the staff's bags," she said. “Panic was setting in when I felt the prick of a needle, as the anesthetic was administered. People say to me now, ‘Why did you go ahead? Why didn’t you say something?' They don’t understand is how quickly this all happened."</p><p>“I had literally minutes to take it all in and was out cold before I could tell them to hold on," Sparks said. “I actually remember waking during the surgery and feeling intense pain. I tried to shout out, but I was so sedated that I’ve no idea if I was making any noise. It was horrendous.”</p><p>After coming to, Sparks was taken to a recovery room and, for the next couple of days, she felt surprisingly well.</p><p>However, five days after her operation, her bandages were removed for the first time, revealing a large red blotch across her stomach.</p><p>Initially, she said she was told that it was just her body needing to oxygenate, and was sent for hourly sessions in a hyperbaric chamber -  where patients' natural healing processes are enhanced as they inhale 100 percent oxygen.</p><p>Over the coming days, though, she felt worse and worse, and her skin around the zone of her tummy tuck began to blister and die.</p><p>Following debridement surgery – a procedure to remove the dead and damaged tissue – she was also fitted with a wound vac to seal off the area and help it heal quicker.</p><p>“I literally felt like I was dying," she said. "When I got no better, I was transferred to another hospital, where they immediately put me in isolation. I was screaming out in pain. An infectious disease expert came in and tried to calm me down by talking to me about home and family he has in the USA."</p><p>“He also told me that I had a very serious infection and needed surgery," she said. "I couldn’t see a way of getting better, though."</p><p>Three bouts of surgery to cut away her dying flesh and, hopefully, stem the infection, later, on March 29 – more than a month after arriving in Colombia – Sparks was allowed to fly home on the proviso she went straight to another hospital.</p><p>Wanting to be near her family, she flew to Denver, Colo., where her loved ones had organized a team of surgeons to be ready for her arrival.</p><p>After testing her wound, medics confirmed she had contracted three different types of dangerous bacteria – two of which had not been seen in the U.S. before.</p><p>“Doctors believe the bacteria came from contaminated equipment," she said. "Of course, I don’t know for sure, but my opinion is that it came from the clinic, as I was already having symptoms before being transferred anywhere else.”</p><p>As the bacteria was so drug-resistant, it seemed at first as if nothing would be able to save her.</p><p>Then, at the 11th hour, a specialist drug was flown in through the Centers for Disease Control.</p><p>“I called it my unicorn juice,” she said. “It thankfully worked, and my insurer picked up a lot of the costs, but, as it was so expensive and I needed a large dose, I have been left with considerable medical bills of around $10,000 myself.”</p><p>She is also speaking out to warn others not to take online reviews as gospel, as she believes companies often delete or edit negative ones.</p><p>“I never saw anything worrying when I did extensive research.  I know now that it wasn’t an informed decision – I was simply seeing what somebody else wanted me to see,” she said. “But I don’t even want to tell people to do thorough research. I want them to realize that surgery simply isn’t worth it. You must learn to love yourself. I wish I had.</p><p>“I now live with daily pain, but I am also happy to be alive, and want what I’ve been through to help others," Sparks said. “When this happened to me, I hadn’t even told my family what I was doing. They thought I was just on a vacation, so when everything went wrong I had to make a very difficult call home, telling my parents it may be the last time I ever spoke to them."</p><p>"All ISAPS members have undergone a rigorous application review process by their peers to be accepted and are board-certified in aesthetic plastic surgery or their equivalent) in their country,” Saltz said.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
r second birthday after doctors gave them just 24 hours to live.</p><p>Callie and Carter Torres, from Blackfoot, Idaho, were born in January 2017 attached at the pelvis and sharing the same legs.</p><p>The girls are omphalo-ischiopagus twins, meaning they each have their own set of vital organs. </p><p>Although as few as 40 per cent of conjoined twins survive past birth, Callie and Carter are already learning to walk and have come off all medication.</p><p>And while separation surgery is an option, the girls' parents Chelsea, 25, and Nick Torres, 24, insist the sisters are stronger together.</p><p>Conjoined twins Callie (left) and Carter Torres are preparing to celebrate their second birthday after doctors gave them just 24 hours to live. They were born in January 2017 attached at the pelvis. The twins have since defied doctors' expectations and are already learning to walk</p><p>Their parents Chelsea, 25, and Nick Torres, 24 (pictured with their five-year-old son Jaysin) decided against separation surgery when the girls were newborns due to its risks. And they are still shunning the operation, insisting the girls are healthier together than they would be apart</p><p>Pictured as newborns, the twins were born by C-section at 37 weeks. Doctors warned they would unlikely live beyond the 11-week pregnancy mark and recommended a termination</p><p>'The girls' health right now is really good. They don't have to take any medication, they just get little colds here and there like normal kids,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'It's incredible to think they have separate hearts, separate stomachs, separate heads – separate personalities too!</p><p>'In the very beginning we did think abortion would be the best option. We thought they would die as soon as they entered world.</p><p>'After the crazy first 24 hours after they were born, they were doing good. They didn't have any issues.'</p><p>Before their arrival, Callie and Carter's parents were told they were conjoined and might not make it.</p><p>However, when the girls were born, all of their worries faded away.</p><p>Mr Torres said: 'I was like "holy c**p, we have two perfect babies.'</p><p>'It was a huge pressure removed from us, because that dreaded thought of "my babies are going to die when they come out" just went away.</p><p>As omphalo-ischiopagus twins, Callie and Carter share the same pelvis and a set of legs, but each have their own vital organs, including a heart, liver, pancreas, digestive tract and lungs</p><p>After overcoming the shock of their daughters being conjoined, the pair decided against separating the girls as newborns and are still shunning the surgery.</p><p>'We don't feel comfortable separating the twins at this point,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'They are going to be more unhealthy when separated, than they are right now.</p><p>'The only way we would consider it is if Callie and Carter have sudden health issues that arise or if they want to be separated when they are older.</p><p>'We are going to give them that option, but we must make sure they completely understand the risks involved.'</p><p>The girls, who love playing together and with their brother, have come off all medication. Their parents claim they just suffer the odd cold like any other toddler. Although separation surgery may be an option in the future, they are going to let the girls decide what is best for them</p><p>Although Mr Torres became concerned when he heard the girls were conjoined, he added they were born 'perfect babies' and knew instantly they were 'here to stay'. Although the girls can attract looks from strangers, Mr Torres said he doesn't care and is just happy they are healthy</p><p>The devoted parents are trying to help the girls learn how to walk together, which is a struggle for all conjoined twins.</p><p>'Doctors don't expect them to walk until they are around four. Honestly, I think it will be more like eight,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'We don't expect coordination to start happening until they are a lot older. But we thought we might as well start to try early.</p><p>'We're hoping coordination isn't a problem for them.'</p><p>As well as walking being difficult, tasks most parents don't give much thought to are also challenging for Mr and Mrs Torres, such as finding clothes.</p><p>'We were vastly unprepared for the girls to come,' Mr Torres said.</p><p>Mrs Torres added: 'I actually decided to start making the girl's clothes myself.</p><p>'I buy regular clothing. I take two of each item - they have to be the same size and the same brand.</p><p>'I then cut them from the back and sew them together through the middle.</p><p>'I learnt how to do it from a YouTube channel online.'</p><p>Although they spend every second together, the girls apparently have very different personalities. Carter is the 'bully' while 'sweetheart' Callie 'puts up with her sister' </p><p>Thankfully for the parents, their five-year-old son Jaysin is always keen to lend a hand.</p><p>'The three of them all get along pretty well,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'If the girls are crying and one of us is busy, Jaysin will go in there and play with them until we are done.</p><p>'He will bring them food, he'll share everything with them. He's been really great.'</p><p>But members of the public can be less understanding towards the family. </p><p>'When we are out in public with the twins, we get all sorts of reactions,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'There have been old ladies who have been like "oh, God wouldn't have wanted those children alive".</p><p>'Others just like to stare. But kids are great fun. They just ask "are they stuck together?" and I'm just like "yeah they got stuck inside my tummy and now they are here".'</p><p>Mr Torres added: 'But you know what, that doesn't matter to us.</p><p>'Just knowing that our girls are healthy and are learning at an everyday rate, it's a great feeling.</p><p>'It's good to know that to them, nothing is wrong. They are not afraid to do anything.'</p><p>Although they spend every second today, Mr and Mrs Torres add Callie and Carter are developing very different personalities.</p><p>'Carter, for the lack of a better term, is a little bully. If she wants something, she will take it,' Mrs Torres said.</p><p>'And if she doesn't want Callie to have something, she'll make sure she doesn't get it.</p><p>'Callie is a little sweetheart. She puts up with her sister. She just likes to hang out, cuddle and eat food.' </p><p>Conjoined twins occur when siblings have their skin or internal organs fused together.</p><p>Conjoined twins are caused by a fertilised egg beginning to split into two embryos a few weeks after conception, but the process stops before it is complete.</p><p>The most common type is twins joined at the chest or abdomen.</p><p>Separation surgery success depends on where the twins are joined.</p><p>Doctors can only tell which organs the siblings share, and therefore plan surgery, after they are born. </p><p>At least one twin survives 75 per cent of the time. </p><p>The most famous pair of conjoined twins was Chang and Eng Bunker, who were born in 1811 and travelled with PT Barnum's circus. They were born in Siam and were known as the Siamese twins.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
doing so when you're 80 may seem ambitious.</p><p>But, if you're worried it may take you hours to jog smaller distances as a pensioner, scientists have the perfect solution for you.</p><p>Researchers from Yale University have crafted a formula to help runners predict how much they will – or won't – slow down as they get older.</p><p>And physical decline is slower than you might think – without injury or illness, regular runners can expect to get just one per cent slower per year after they turn 40.</p><p>There is a steeper drop in fitness when someone reaches 80 – the fall in fitness between ages 80 and 90 is bigger than the entire period between 40 and 80</p><p>The maths does seem to suggest people have hit their peak by 40 and continue to train the same way afterwards, but shows age can be just a number. </p><p>Their calculations suggest a runner should actually only be around 40 per cent slower when they're 75 than they were at the age of 40.</p><p>For example, a 40-year-old who can run 5km (3.1 miles) in half an hour should only take 42 minutes to complete the same distance at the age of 75.</p><p>Dr Ray Fair and his colleague, Professor Edward Kaplan, worked out the formula based on marathon records among people in different age groups.</p><p>'The bottom line is that people are physically capable of running well for longer than we would expect, which is encouraging.</p><p>'Between 40 and 80 years of age, the time it takes someone to complete a run of a set distance only increases by about one per cent per year.'</p><p>To work out how much your running might slow down you only need to know your current age, the age you want to find out about, and your current running time.</p><p>Each age between 40 and 95 has a factor (all of which are listed in the table at the bottom of this story) to represent it in the calculation.</p><p>The factor for the age you're testing must be divided by the factor for your current age, then that number should be multiplied by your current time.</p><p>For example, if you're 50 and can run 10km (6.2 miles) in an hour, and want to know how fast you'll be when you're 80, you should do these sums:</p><p>To work out how fast you could be able to run in future you only need to know the age you are now, the age you want to know about and your current running time for any distance you choose.</p><p>The factor for the age you're testing must be divided by the factor for your current age, then that number should be multiplied by your current time: </p><p>For example, if you're 50 and can run 10km in an hour, and want to know how fast you'll be when you're 80, you should do these sums:</p><p>So you could expect to be able to run the same distance in 81 minutes – 1hr 21m. </p><p>So you could expect to run the same distance in 81 minutes – 1hr 21m.</p><p>The calculator does assume a runner has reached their peak by the age of 40 and they continue to train as hard without being seriously injured or having a long illness.</p><p>In reality, people would find it harder to stick to losing just one per cent of fitness per year.</p><p>And there is a steeper drop when someone reaches 80 – the fall in fitness between ages 80 and 90 is bigger than the entire period between 40 and 80.</p><p>But, experts say, the figures show it is possible for people to stave off ageing by trying to keep fit.</p><p>A doctor at Imperial College NHS Trust in London, Frank Miskelly, told The Times: 'Until you hit 80 you should really feel as good as you did when you were 20.</p><p>'A lot of the decline that comes with age is actually due to the psychological approach to it.</p><p>'Older people are often told they need to slow down; sit around more and take fewer "risks", but those behavioural changes have more of an impact on fitness than age does.</p><p>'If you maintain a good level of exercise there’s no reason you shouldn’t be physically very capable until you’re 80.'</p><p>People become weaker as they get older because of a process called sarcopenia, which is when calcium leaks out of proteins inside the muscles.</p><p>This then triggers a chain reaction which eventually makes muscles less able to contract, and therefore weaker, a Columbia University study found in 2011.</p><p>The risk of disease is also higher and conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and weaker breathing muscles can also make people less able.</p><p>Dr Fair and Professor Kaplan published their research in the journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
oth anthrax and plague amid fears of terror threats.</p><p>The bacteria behind anthrax and the pneumonic plague are two of the deadliest pathogens that could be used in warfare. </p><p>Researchers from The Catholic University of America therefore created a single vaccine that could provide completion protection against the two diseases.</p><p>Tests on animals showed the vaccine worked, even if they were infected with a deadly dose of either of the two killer pathogens. </p><p>The bacteria behind anthrax and the pneumonic plague are two of the deadliest pathogens that could be used in warfare (stock)</p><p>'This dual anthrax-plague vaccine is a strong candidate for stockpiling against a potential bioterror attack involving either one or both of these biothreat agents,' scientists led by Dr Pan Tao said.</p><p>The Washington DC-based team combined toxins from the bacteria Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis, which cause anthrax and the pneumonic plague, respectively.</p><p>These toxins are known to stimulate an immune response when a person becomes infected.</p><p>When given to mice, rats and rabbits, the vaccine gave complete protection against both diseases, even when the animals were infected with doses that are known to deadly.</p><p>The jab is thought to stimulate immune cells to clear the bacteria from the body. It is unclear when it may be available.</p><p>The study was published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology.</p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classes anthrax and plague as the pathogens that pose the greatest threat to the national security of the US.</p><p>This comes after letters containing anthrax spores were sent to several news media offices and the Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy in 2001, just weeks after September 11.</p><p>Health officials are unsure how this year's outbreak began.</p><p>However, some believe it could be caused by the bubonic plague, which is endemic in the remote highlands of Madagascar.</p><p>If left untreated, it can lead to the pneumonic form, which is responsible for two thirds of the cases recorded so far in this year's outbreak.</p><p>Rats carry the Yersinia pestis bacteria that causes the plague, which is then passed onto their fleas.</p><p>Forest fires drive rats towards rural communities, which means residents are at risk of being bitten and infected. Local media reports suggest there has been an increase in the number of blazes in the woodlands.</p><p>Without antibiotics, the bubonic strain can spread to the lungs - where it becomes the more virulent pneumonic form.</p><p>Pneumonic, which can kill within 24 hours, can then be passed on through coughing, sneezing or spitting. </p><p>However, it can also be treated with antibiotics if caught in time. </p><p>Madagascar sees regular outbreaks of plague, which tend to start in September, with around 600 cases being reported each year on the island. </p><p>However, this year's outbreak has seen it reach the Indian Ocean island's two biggest cities, Antananarivo and Toamasina.</p><p>Experts warn the disease spreads quicker in heavily populated areas. </p><p>Known as Amerithrax, 22 people were infected, of which five died. A key suspect was the scientist Bruce Edwards Ivins, who killed himself in 2008.</p><p>Mr Ivins was a senior biodefense researcher at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Maryland. </p><p>Both anthrax and plague can kill in as little as three days.</p><p>The most deadly form of anthrax is inhaled (pneumonic), which can quickly cause sufferers to cough up blood and even fall into comas.</p><p>If spores enter a person's lymph nodes, they can multiply and produce deadly toxins that spread throughout the body.</p><p>This can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding, as well as the death of tissues and major organs.</p><p>Although there is an FDA-approved anthrax vaccine, it can cause the airways to collapse and general circulation failure. </p><p>There no approved jab for plague, however, an experimental vaccine is sometimes used in the military.</p><p>It is unclear what the potential side effects of the newly-developed dual vaccine may be. </p><p>The pneumonic form of plague is the most dangerous, which can cause patients to cough up blood and suffer sudden cardiac arrest.</p><p>The bacteria for both diseases are most often inhaled as infected droplets.</p><p>As well as protecting against a potential terror threat, the researchers believe the plague vaccine could be used globally.</p><p>The disease killed 209 people in Madagascar in an outbreak last year. </p><p>Anthrax spores have been weaponised by at least five countries: Britain, Japan, the United States, Russia and Iraq</p><p>Anthrax is the name of the potentially-deadly disease caused by the spores of bacteria Bacillus anthracis.</p><p>As the disease can survive in harsh climates, Anthrax spores have been weaponised by at least five countries: Britain, Japan, the United States, Russia and Iraq.</p><p>The disease can be contracted by touching, inhaling or swallowing spores, which can lie dormant in water and soil for years.</p><p>It is most deadly, however, when the spores are inhaled, which is why the threat of a letter containing the disease is taken very seriously by authorities. </p><p>About 80 per cent of people who inhale the spores will die, in some cases even with immediate medical intervention. </p><p>Anthrax's first documented use as a weapon of warfare was by the Japanese in the 1930s, where thousands of prisoners of war were intentionally infected and died.</p><p>British trials of the disease on Gruinard Island in Scotland in 1942 severely contaminated the land for half a century, making it a no-go area until 1990.</p><p>The disease is particularly dangerous as its spores can be cultivated with minimal scientific training and special equipment.</p><p>Letters containing the deadly spores was mailed to several news outlets and the offices of two politicians in America, in what came to be known as the 2001 Anthrax attacks.</p><p>Biodefence researcher Dr Bruce Ivins (left) is the sole suspect of the 2001 Anthrax attacks, in whcih letters (right) containing the disease were mailed across the USA</p><p>As a result, 22 were infected and five people died after just a few grams who used across all the letters.</p><p>In 2008, biodefence researcher Dr Bruce Ivins was named as a suspect but committed suicide before he could face any charges. </p><p>Once inside the body they become active and start producing toxins, which cause the disease and manifest and spread. </p><p>Symptoms range from blisters to shortness of breath or diarrhea, depending on how it enters the body.</p><p>The vast majority of cases are caused by skin contact. This is the least deadly form of the disease, with 75 per cent of patients surviving without treatment. </p><p>Anthrax naturally infects many species of grazing mammals such as sheep, cattle and goats, which are infected through ingestion of soil contaminated by B. anthracis spores. The spores may remain dormant for many years.</p><p>Infection generally occurs 1 to 7 days after exposure but occasionally, if inhaled, cases may present 2 to 3 months later.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>
ft arm</p><p>A mother-of-two claims she looked she had been attacked by 'flesh-eating bugs' after she had a tattoo removed.</p><p>Stephanie Lynn, 28, had a skull and roses inked on her left arm but wanted to get the 'embarrassing' art removed before her wedding next year.</p><p>Now Miss Lynn said she may be forced to postpone her wedding as the permanent scars she has been left with have ruined her confidence.</p><p>But after just two visits to the clinic, based at Royston Dental Practice, Miss Lynn claims her arm was 'fried' and became severely infected.</p><p>Her hand swelled to four times its normal size, she couldn't straighten her arm and was left with agonising pus-filled blisters.</p><p>Miss Lynn, who underwent the laser removal surgery in July and September, said: 'When I got the tattoo I was just young and stupid.</p><p>'I went to get it removed it and had a patch test which went fine. </p><p>'I put numbing cream on a couple of hours before it and when I got my first lasering I really didn't notice much.</p><p>'But the second time I went, it was just horrific. I knew something wasn't right.'</p><p>She added: 'The girl who was doing it left me in so much pain. It felt like she was burning my arm, a completely different feeling compared to the first time I did it.</p><p>'It was unbearable, my arm was on fire. The girl put soothing gel over the top but after two days, my arm got swollen, it was like four times its size.</p><p>'I couldn't straighten my arm. I know it's normal to have swelling but not like this, it was worse.</p><p>'It's like an electric shock went through my arm. It looked like flesh-eating bugs had attacked it - it looked horrible.' </p><p>Her hand swelled to four times its normal size, she couldn't straighten her arm and was left with agonising pus-filled blisters (pictured: her swollen hand)</p><p>Miss Lynn said she may be forced to postpone her wedding as the permanent scars she has been left with have ruined her confidence (pictured, her arm as it is now)</p><p>Miss Lynn, who underwent the laser removal surgery in July and September, said: 'When I got the tattoo I was just young and stupid' </p><p>Miss Lynn claimed that when she reported the infection to Fresh Faced she was told to go to their pharmacy (pictured, her arm as it is now)</p><p>Miss Lynn described the pain after her second appointment as being like an 'electric shock' that went through my arm</p><p>Miss Lynn went to the GP to get help for the excruciating pain and was prescribed antibiotics for the infection. It is unclear what the infection was.</p><p>She later called NHS24, and was referred to a nearby medical centre where doctors confirmed the infection.</p><p>Miss Lynn claimed that when she reported the infection to Fresh Faced she was told to go to their pharmacy.</p><p>There she was given epaderm cream to keep her skin moisturised and dermol wash. She said she followed all the correct aftercare instructions.</p><p>Miss Lynn went to the GP to get help for the excruciating pain and was prescribed antibiotics for the infection (pictured, her swollen arm after the laser surgery removal)</p><p>Miss Lynn claimed she has emailed Fresh Faced back and forth and has requested their tattoo removalist certificates and their insurance details (pictured, her arm as it is now)</p><p>But the mother to Chloe, eight, and three-year-old Hollie, alleged that she has not heard back from the firm in three weeks (pictured, her arm after her first appointment)</p><p>She said: 'This has completely ruined my confidence. I'm always wearing long sleeve tops now' (pictured, her arm after her second appointment)</p><p>But the mother to Chloe, eight, and three-year-old Hollie, alleged that she has not heard back from the firm in three weeks.</p><p>And now she fears she may need to postpone her wedding.</p><p>She said: 'This has completely ruined my confidence. I'm always wearing long sleeve tops now.</p><p>'This has been so horrible, even driving my kids to school has been so difficult - something as simple as changing gears in your car.</p><p>'I just don't want anyone else to experience what I've gone through. My youngest daughter didn't want to come near me because of the scarring.</p><p>Fresh Faced was contacted for a comment but a spokeswoman has said they cannot comment on the issue. </p><p>Miss Lynn said: 'This has been so horrible, even driving my kids to school has been so difficult - something as simple as changing gears in your car' (pictured, her arm her appointment)</p><p>Miss Lynn has not been told by doctors what the infection was - but was given a course of antibiotics for her swelling and blisters (pictured after her second appointment)</p><p>Miss Lynn's arm is pictured after her second appointment at Fresh Faced</p><p>Miss Lynn said: 'My youngest daughter didn't want to come near me because of the scarring' (pictured, the scarring after her second appointment)</p><p>Miss Lynn's arm is pictured after her second appointment at Fresh Faced in Glasgow</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. 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ospital where she thought she would die of a rare form of leukaemia five years ago.</p><p>Brooke Evans, from Redditch in Worcestershire, needed eight months of chemotherapy to recover from lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was 17 in 2013.</p><p>Now in remission herself, Miss Evans hopes her experience will help her relate to her patients better and give them hope of recovery.</p><p>Brooke Evans was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia when she was 17 in 2013 and now has a job as a nurse at the hospital where she had chemotherapy</p><p>Miss Evans recovered from her own cancer after eight months of gruelling treatment and is currently in remission.</p><p>Inspired by her experience as a patient, the 22-year-old recently qualified as a nurse after beginning her studies at the University of Worcester in 2015.</p><p>Miss Evans said: 'I can have lot of empathy and sympathy with my patients because I understand on a personal level what they're going through.</p><p>'I hope that if I tell patients my story it'll inspire them and keep them going. I hope they realise that it's not all bad.</p><p>'There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it, I just think about how lucky I am.' </p><p>Miss Evans said she thought she was going to die when she had lymphoblastic leukaemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, but she is now in remission and has completed a degree and landed a job since</p><p>Miss Evans needed eight months of chemotherapy and had to take a year off school because of her illness, meaning she missed out on going to university when all her friends went</p><p>Miss Evans had to take a year off school to have her treatment and said she missed out because her friends were starting university but she was too ill.</p><p>'It was hard because all my friends who'd I'd gone to school with were at university,' she said.</p><p>'I came across as a troublesome teenager who was in denial about what has happening.'</p><p>Lymphoblastic leukaemia is a rare type of cancer and only affects around 810 people in the UK each year.</p><p>The disease causes bone marrow to release white blood cells into the body too soon, reducing the number of healthy red blood cells and making people weak. </p><p>But she soon managed to complete her nursing degree and landed a job working among the same people who saved her life less than five years earlier. </p><p>It was that experience of facing the possibility of dying herself – and she did believe she would die – which motivated her to become a nurse. </p><p>And the 22-year-old was overwhelmed by emotion before she was due to go in to start her first shift.</p><p>Miss Evans said: 'The hospital were amazing. The nurses and doctors tried their absolute best.</p><p>'That's why I decided to work there, because I saw what they were doing first-hand.</p><p>Miss Evans, who now works as a haematology nurse on the same ward she was treated on, hopes her own experience of the deadly disease will help her relate to other patients and give them hope for their recovery</p><p>Miss Evans (pictured when she was having cancer treatment five years ago) says she cried the night before her first shift because she was so overwhelmed with emotion before going back to where she had believed she would die as a teenager</p><p>'I cried the night before my first shift. It was a mixture of emotions to do with my past because at one point I didn't know if I'd get here.</p><p>'I thought I was going to die so putting on my uniform ready to go work was a big deal.'</p><p>Miss Evans, who has only been working in the hospital full-time for a week, said she's already bumped into a few familiar faces.</p><p>She added: 'I'm working with the same doctors that treated me and working with patients who have the same condition.</p><p>'At first it was weird. Sometimes i feel a little bit embarrassed.</p><p>'But it's quite funny now to see them again, and they're really happy to see that I've gone full circle.'</p><p>Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow.</p><p>There are around 810 new cases in the UK every year. In the US, ALL affects approximately 1.7 adults per 100,000. </p><p>Anyone can develop ALL, however, it mainly affects younger people.</p><p>Many ALL symptoms are vague and flu-like, such as: </p><p>Risks for developing ALL include exposure to radiation, smoking, being overweight and having a weak immune system.</p><p>Research suggests being breastfed and exposed to childhood infections may reduce a person's risk.</p><p>The main ALL treatment is chemotherapy. Patients may also have radiotherapy, steroids or bone marrow transplants.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group</p>