A FORMER paratrooper who survived warzones unscathed has spoken of his “bitter irony” after he was forced to have his leg amputated after stubbing his toe at home.
Eric Baker, 67, didn’t suffer a single injury despite watching close friends get killed and seriously maimed during conflict.
But, in a cruel turn of events, Mr Baker received the “worst injury of his life” while at home in South Yorkshire.
He said: “It really is a bitter irony that stubbing my toe has cost me my leg.
“I’ve fought in warzones, watched lads I was serving with killed and seriously hurt – seen many soldiers who have had their legs blown off or amputated.
“But I got away without any serious injuries in my time, or so I thought.”
He added: “I’ve been through absolute hell with this injury – it’s been worse than anything I’ve had to deal with in my military career.”
Mr Baker stubbed his toe in November last year.
“I just woke up as normal, got out of bed and banged my toe on one of my bed’s legs,” he said.
“It hurt like mad when I did it, I was hopping around in agony. But after a few minutes the pain subsided and I just forgot about it.”
Mr Baker said that the pain subsided for around a month, but would come back occasionally when he put pressure on the toe.
But just before Christmas his symptoms got worse.
“I woke up, stepped out of bed and fell flat on my face,” he said.
“My toe was completely numb – I couldn’t feel anything and my leg wasn’t supporting me.”
He went to his GP and was prescribed antibiotics, but on January 27 the pain had become so great that he had to be taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary by paramedics with suspected gangrene.
Mr Baker said: “The doctors told me that the broken bone in my toe had caused septicaemia, which had then turned into gangrene.”
Mr Baker underwent an operation to remove his leg below the knee a fortnight later.
He was kept in hospital for 11 weeks and, in that time, his amputation wound also became infected – meaning he had to undergo a second operation to remove his leg above the knee.
Mr Baker said: “It just goes to show, this has been the worst injury of my life – from stubbing my toe. It really is crazy.
“It’s been agony.”