Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has spoken of his life-threatening sepsis ordeal that left him having his hands and feet amputated.

Mr Mackinlay said that he was “extremely lucky to be alive” and had had some “extreme surgery” as a result of the illness. Speaking about his return to work, he said he now wants to be known as the first “bionic MP”, after he was fitted with prosthetic legs and hands.

The ordeal started after Mr Mackinlay began feeling unwell and went to bed early. During the night he was sick but didn’t think it was anything too serious. However, as the night wore on, his wife, a pharmacist began to get worried and tested his blood pressure and temperature. By the morning, his arms were cold and she couldn’t feel a pulse. She called an ambulance and he was admitted to hospital.

He recalls his whole body turning a “very strange blue”. He had gone into septic shock and was placed in an induced coma for 16 days. His chances of survival stood at just 5%.

Luckily, Mr Mackinlay survived, and he is now trying to adapt to life following a gruelling period where he had to learn to walk using his prosthetic feet and learn to use his prosthetic hands.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. It is a potentially life-threatening condition, which if not treated early, can turn into septic shock and cause organs to fail.

Many sepsis survivors will find their recovery challenging after they leave hospital.

Around 40% of people who develop sepsis are estimated to suffer physical, cognitive, and/or psychological after effects.

For most people, these effects will only last a few weeks, but others can face a long road to recovery and develop Post Sepsis Syndrome (PSS).

Survivors who require amputation like Mr Mackinlay are faced with a long road of rehabilitation and other challenges.

Diagnosing and Treating Sepsis

There is no one sign for sepsis and it can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.  A single diagnostic test does not yet exist, and so doctors and healthcare professionals use a combination of tests along with considering the clinical presentation, such as whether there is an infection present, whether there is very low blood pressure and a high heart rate or whether there is an increase in breathing rate.

Symptoms of sepsis will present differently in children and adults. A list of symptoms can be found here.

Sepsis needs treatment in hospital straight away because it can get worse quickly. Antibiotics should be given within 1 hour of arriving at hospital.

Due to the nature of sepsis, early detection is crucial to prevent long-term damage, including multiple organ failure. If your sepsis was misdiagnosed or wasn’t picked up at the earliest possible opportunity, we could help you make a medical negligence claim to help you secure compensation which would allow you to access expert care and rehabilitation to meet your ongoing and future needs. Compensation could also provide support if your loved one has sadly died as a result of sepsis.

Contact us

For more information about sepsis clinical negligence claims, contact us for a free and confidential discussion on 0113 284 5745 or email us at

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