Dad's legs amputated after horrifying sepsis mistaken for flu

Photo credit: GoFundMe

The potentially brutal effects of a sepsis infection have been put under the spotlight by the story of father-of-three James Mackey, who has had both legs amputated below the calf after a serious infection took hold in October.

Sharing his experience in the media to raise awareness of sepsis and help fundraise to pay for a set of prosthetic legs and other medical equipment, James' family say when he first went to see his GP, he had symptoms which he thought were caused by a bout of flu.

His doctor ordered an ambulance straight away and James, from Bracknell in Berkshire, was then rushed to hospital and diagnosed with sepsis.

After spending two weeks on a ventilator having intensive care treatment at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an infection in James' foot had taken hold so much that doctors felt they had no choice but to amputate both his legs at below the calf.

James is still recovering in hospital. Speaking to The Mirror about his sepsis infection, James' sister-in-law Lucy Webb, said: "The sooner you can get it [sepsis] diagnosed, the easier it is to recover. James had four days of going undiagnosed for it to take hold."

Photo credit: GoFundMe

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family fundraise to help meet the costs of prosthetic legs, and other modifications which James will need to adapt to his new circumstances.

Sepsis - facts, causes and warning signs

In the UK, it's estimated that there are 102,000 cases of severe sepsis every year, with a staggering 37,000 deaths . In comparison, breast cancer claims around 12,000 lives each year.

Sepsis is a reaction by the body to severe infection. Sepsis symptoms include a rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, a change in behaviour (confusion, drowsiness or slurring words - patients can appear 'drunk'),hypothermia, diarrhoea, changes in skin colour, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.

If diagnosed and treated in the first hour following presentation with sepsis, the patient has more than an 80% survival rate. After the sixth hour, the patient only has a 30% survival rate.


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