A MUM-of-three says her life has been destroyed after she suffered a massive stroke during an emergency caesarean-section.
Samantha Wilkinson, 37, was having a complicated labour with son Billy at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan when she was rushed to the operating theatre.
She said doctors hadn't realised she was having a stroke as blood from one of her arteries had begun bleeding into her brain.
Samantha, then 29, claims that when she told staff the whole left side of her body was paralysed, they said it was the anaesthetic wearing off.
She was eventually taken to intensive care and her husband Darren, 45, was told a lemon-sized pocket in her frontal lobe had filled with blood.
Doctors told him his wife had a 50-50 chance of surviving the next 48 hours, and if she did there would only be a 20 per cent chance of walking again.
Her family even gathered at the unit as the vicar gave Samantha her last rites.
But the brave mum battled against the odds and after two days she was moved into a private ward, where she was fitted with a urinary catheter and had a tube inserted into her stomach.
But in a further blow, when staff took it out they discovered her bladder had been cut open during the c-section and she was incontinent.
Samantha was discharged after a week's physiotherapy and rehabilitation, but she told she would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life.
The stroke had also sparked a number of other problems including severe uncontrolled epilepsy and weekly seizures.
She has to sleep downstairs away from Darren due to frequent nighttime fits and has even ended up in hospital falling down the stairs during a violent seizure.
Samantha also has chronic headaches that she treats with morphine when they're severe enough.
She's also too high-risk to bear any more children, and is now going through induced menopause because she can't have a hysterectomy.
Samantha developed arthritis - which is believed to have been caused by using a zimmer frame to move around her house every day for nearly eight years.
She was diagnosed with Stage III chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - a term describing lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis- in 2017.
Struggling to cope she she even attempted to take her own life with an overdose, but thankfully a family member took her to hospital in time.
Samantha said: "I can't even explain how all this makes me feel.
"I'm on oxygen every night now - I just exist, at the moment.
"I want to make people aware that going in for a c-section is not what it seems.
"You don't read anywhere about the fact that you could have a stroke - they can ruin your life in an instant, they can ruin everything for you."
Samantha was had the emergency c-section at Wigan Infirmary on 28 August 2010.
She said: "I remember the anaesthetist was standing by me during the c section, and he just went off - he knew my blood pressure was high because I was bleeding from the incision.
"And bear in mind that I wasn't smoking and I wasn't drinking either, because of the pregnancy, and I had nothing wrong with me."
Darren had to give up his job as a lorry driver to care for Samantha and their son Billy, eight, who has severe autism.
She said: "The fact is the COPD is killing me and I'm going to die because of it -- and having to deal with that has sent my husband into depression."
The Wilkinsons now live on £19,920 worth of benefits per year, from which they pay council tax and bills.
She said it was humiliating to apply for benefits, having had "good money" with Darren's salary, though her great fear is that someone could decide Samantha's not "disabled enough" to qualify for a disability allowance.
She said: "If we don't get the benefits in July, everything will stop - that'll be it.
"That's when it would all end for me, because then I'd have nothing left."