Her smile is bright, cheery, sometimes goofy and always contagious. But pictures can’t completely capture her upbeat, positive vibe. At 21, Claire Bridges has a mature spirit that amazes those who love her as well as the doctors who had to operate on her heart and remove both legs to save her life.
“She had a will to live, perseverance and a sort of twinkle in her eye — I tell all my patients that’s half the battle,” said Dr. Dean Arnaoutakis, a vascular surgeon at the University of South Florida Health in Tampa who amputated Bridges’ legs after complications from Covid-19.
“Most people would be despondent and feel like life had cheated them,” said Dr. Ismail El-Hamamsy, a professor of cardiovascular surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who operated on Bridges’ heart.
“But she told me, ‘I feel like I’m the luckiest person on this planet. I have my whole life ahead of me. I can