Bert Newton’s health had been a ‘huge worry’ for his family in the weeks before his leg was amputated earlier this month to save his life.
The 82-year-old entertainer’s wife, Patti, was particularly concerned, but ‘put on a brave face’ in front of her children and grandchildren.
‘Patti has feared the worst for weeks now,’ a close friend of the Newtons told Woman’s Day magazine on Monday.
Health struggles: Bert Newton’s health had been a ‘huge worry’ for his family in the weeks before his leg was amputated earlier this month to save his life
They continued: ‘Bert was not in great health before the infection [in his toe which led to the amputation], and he’s been getting steadily more and more frail because of the unbearable pain.
‘It’s been a huge worry on the entire family. Patti always puts on a brave face, but underneath she’s been terrified that she would lose him.’
Bert was experiencing unbearable pain from his infected toe before doctors amputated his leg on Saturday, May 8, in a life-saving operation.
He consented to the amputation after spending six weeks at Melbourne’s Epworth Hospital, where his condition had been steadily worsening.
His rock: The 82-year-old entertainer’s wife, Patti, was particularly concerned, but ‘put on a brave face’ in front of her children and grandchildren
Patti, his wife of 47 years, told The Daily Telegraph she had ‘never seen anybody in more pain’ than her husband on the morning of his operation.
She added: ‘I just felt he could not go through pain like he was going through for much longer.’
Bert went into surgery at 7.50am on May 8 and Patti learned it had been a success at 3pm. ‘It was a long day and a long wait,’ she said.
Patti, 76, also spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’.
Amputation: Bert was experiencing unbearable pain from his infected toe before doctors amputated his leg on Saturday, May 8, in a life-saving operation. Pictured on August 17, 2019
‘This is not a death sentence,’ she said, adding: ‘He is lucky; he has got family all around him. The grandkids mean the world to him.’
Bert’s toe became infected before Christmas.
The infection was ‘linked to his diabetes’ and was threatening his life.
The Good Morning Australia host, who has battled ill health for years and spent the past six weeks in hospital, was told the surgery was a ‘life or death decision’, entertainment journalist Peter Ford first reported on 3AW Breakfast last Monday.
Mr Ford, who had been in contact with the Newton family, said the infection kept getting worse and spreading, leaving doctors no choice but to amputate.
Doctors reportedly told Bert a week earlier that amputating the leg would save his life, but keeping the leg would mean he’d have just ‘months to live’.
Fighter: Patti spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit last week, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’
‘[The infection] got worse… he was seeing doctors and specialists and they couldn’t seem to get it right; it kept on spreading,’ Mr Ford explained.
‘Basically he was told, “You have a couple of months to live, or if you have your leg amputated, you’ll probably have a few years.” So he agreed to have the leg amputated on Saturday.’
Mr Ford said Bert and Patti were preparing for a major adjustment once he gets home from hospital.
‘It’s a big decision for anyone to make [to amputate], but it’s also a practical thing, because they live in a two-storey place with the bedrooms and the bathrooms upstairs, so they’re now having to convert the house downstairs because Patti doesn’t want him to go into a nursing home,’ he said.
Unwell: On November 19, Patti had posted this photo to Instagram of Bert in hospital as he battled a mystery illness, which may have been his toe infection
However, the Newtons are said to be staying positive and don’t want the public to think of Bert’s amputation as a ‘sad’ story.
Mr Ford said: ‘They [the Newton family] said, “We had a choice. Other people don’t have a choice. Bert wants to keep on living, because he adores Patti, his children and his grandkids, and he wants to have as much time as he can with them.”‘
Patti, who recently broke her ankle, had been pictured visiting her husband in hospital on April 28, accompanied by her daughter, Lauren.
Family: However, he seemed to be in better health by Christmas Day, when he joined his family for lunch at Crown Melbourne. Bert and Patti are pictured with their daughter, Lauren, her husband, Matt Welsh, and their six children, Sam, Eva, Lola, Monty, Perla and Alby
On November 19, she had posted a photo to Instagram of Bert in hospital.
‘Bert’s been in hospital [but] all good. He’s got a lot of living to do,’ she wrote in the caption.
However, he seemed to be in better health by Christmas Day, when he joined his family for lunch at a Chinese restaurant at Crown Melbourne.
Patti’s Instagram activity about this time suggests her husband was discharged from hospital for the duration of the holiday period.
Speaking for the first time since his amputation, Bert told The Sunday Telegraph over the weekend: ‘This is my first week and I seem to be getting through it.
‘The amount of care and love I’ve received from everyone has been overwhelming. All I want to say is thank you to everyone.’
Bert’s health first became a concern in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass.
In the years following the surgery, he was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anemia.
Anemia can make a person feel tired or weak because there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues.
The four-time Gold Logie winner told reporters outside hospital in 2017 that he was feeling better after being treated for pneumonia.
‘I’m feeling better now. It took a while. I didn’t realise until I copped it the first time, that pneumonia is such a serious thing, but I’m feeling better now,’ he said at the time.
Declining health: Bert’s health first became a concern in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass. In the years following the surgery, he was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anemia. Pictured in hospital with one of his grandchildren