Sepsis signs to spot after life-threatening condition turned conservative MP's limbs black in horror health battle

Craig Mackinlay

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay had his hands and feet amputated following his battle with sepsis

Craig Mackinlay/GB News
Adam Chapman

By Adam Chapman

Published: 22/05/2024

- 11:46

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has laid bare his life-threatening battle with sepsis, which led to the amputation of his hands and feet.

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay says he's “extremely lucky to be alive” following his horrific health battle with sepsis.

In September, the MP for South Thanet was taken to hospital and “placed into an induced coma with multiple organ failures”.

The life-threatening episode led to Mr Mackinlay having his hands and feet amputated.

Opening up about his ordeal in an exclusive interview with GB News, the MP raised awareness about a potentially deadly condition that affects 245,000 people in the UK, including 2,000 children.

What is sepsis and what are the symptoms? 

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the body’s own tissues and organs.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, five people die with sepsis every hour in the UK.

\u200bCraig Mackinlay

Mr Mackinlayhe wants to be known as the first 'bionic MP' after he was fitted with prosthetic legs and hands

Craig Mackinlay/GB News

Sepsis can be very difficult to spot, but if it is caught early it is easily treatable.

In adults and older children, symptoms can include slurred speech or confusion; extreme shivering or muscle pain; passing no urine in a day; severe breathlessness; and mottled or discoloured skin and sometimes a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it.

Sepsis can also progress to septic shock - a severe drop in blood pressure. When this happens, symptoms can take a potentially deadly turn.

Mr Mackinlay was “placed into an induced coma with multiple organ failures” after his sepsis progressed to septic shock.

The MP told GB News Political Editor Christopher Hope that a loss of blood supply to the limbs caused them to “turn black” while his body “went blue” as he laid bare the shocking realities of his condition.

“Everything was starting to shut down”, he said.

“My wife was told that they rarely see people with this amount of illness in the hospital and to perhaps prepare for the worst.

“You end up with a lot of blood clots in your extremities, and they call it your ‘socks and gloves’.

“Your socks are your feet and your gloves are your hands.

“It also affected the front of my face. You can see quite a lot of scarring because of a loss of blood supply in the front of my mouth.

Craig Mackinlay

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay went into septic shock following his sepsis battle

GB News

“It caused some damage to teeth and a bit of scarring, they had to take off some dead skin.”

The MP says he now he wants to be known as the first "bionic MP" after he was fitted with prosthetic legs and hands.

Who can get sepsis?

Anyone with an infection can get sepsis.

According to the NHS, there are some groups who are more likely to get an infection which could lead to sepsis, including babies under one, particularly if they were born prematurely; over-75s; people with dementia; people with a weakened immune system; people with a genetic disorder that affects their immune system; people who have recently had surgery or a serious illness; and women who have just given birth, had a miscarriage or an abortion.

What is the treatment?

People with sepsis need prompt hospital care because it can get worse very quickly.

Where sepsis is suspected, patients should be put on antibiotics within one hour of arriving at hospital.

If sepsis is not treated early, it can turn into septic shock and cause the body’s organs to fail.

People may need additional support in intensive care units – a ventilator to help them breathe or surgery to remove areas of infection.

Are there longer-term health implications for survivors?

Around two in five (40 percent) people who develop sepsis are estimated to suffer physical, cognitive, and/or psychological after-effects.

According to the NHS, people can continue to have physical and emotional symptoms which can last for months or even years after a person has had sepsis.

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