‘You see that grey building?” Leslie Ash says. We are standing at the window of her central London penthouse. “That’s Charing Cross hospital. Now, see that bit sticking out on the left? That was my room, on the top floor.” In 2004, Ash spent nearly three months there, recovering from the superbug methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus (Mssa), a variant of Mrsa, perhaps watching her old life out of the window and wondering if she would ever get it back.
She had contracted the infection from a different hospital, the Chelsea and Westminster – she believes from an epidural needle – after being admitted with cracked ribs, and for weeks it was unclear whether she would walk again. Her husband, the former footballer Lee Chapman, and her two sons, were warned that she might die.