Firefighter loses leg after being hurt in fire
Fire investigator Josh Macdonald contracted a bacterial infection after pulling a woman from her burning home in March 2016
By FireRescue1 Staff
BERTHOUD, Colo. — After over a year of surgeries in an attempt to heal his knee from infection, a firefighter underwent surgery to have his leg amputated.
Reporter Herald reported that Berthoud Fire Protection District fire investigator Josh Macdonald was injured in a March 2016 house fire after pulling 75-year-old Cecil Ann Dunfee from her burning home.
Dunfee died after the fire, and it was when Macdonald returned to the scene to investigate the cause that he fell through the floor and caught his leg in electrical wiring.
“Once I fell through that floor, I just thought it was a torn ACL and PCL,” Macdonald told CBS Denver.
Macdonald’s health began declining after a routine surgery to fix his knee. Months after the incident, he was wrongly diagnosed with an allergic reaction to a skin cream after noticing irritation around his surgery scars.
It was discovered that a staph infection caused by contaminated metal used in the surgery turned into a serious case of MRSA after Macdonald passed out Nov. 2016, and despite several attempts to save the leg, it was determined that amputation was the best route.
"It's really hard to say, but now we know that my leg was full of infection, and we did the right thing. But my leg still feels like it's there. It's just hard. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Macdonald said.
"When I see him cry, it makes me want to cry because I just want to take his pain away from him. But I'm just trying to tell him about all the positive things we still have to look forward to like our wedding, we just bought a house, we want to have kids," Macdonald’s fiancée, Lauryn Smith, said.
During his recovery from the infection, Macdonald was awarded a Colorado Firefighter’s Purple Heart, and he said his goal is to become a firefighter once again.
“I don't think this leg is going to stop me. I talked to the prosthetic people yesterday, and there's some good prosthetics out there," he said. "I'm excited to get back to working. It's hard as a man to not work, to not get up every day and put on my shoes and go to work."