A U.K. lawmaker had his feet and hands amputated after septic shock. Now he wants to be known as the “Bionic MP.”


Colorado doctors shares sepsis warning signs


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02:54

A U.K. legislator who lost both his hands and feet after suffering septic shock is now headed back to work. And he hopes to bring a new title with him, as the country’s “Bionic MP.” 

Craig Mackinlay, a conservative member of U.K. Parliament serving South Thanet, told CBS News partner BBC that he started feeling ill on September 27 last year. After a negative COVID test, he went to sleep. His wife Kati is a pharmacist and kept an eye on his condition as he slept, and by morning, she was incredibly concerned after his arms became cold and she couldn’t detect a pulse. 

Within half an hour of being admitted to the hospital, Mackinlay said his entire body, from “top to bottom,” turned “a very strange blue.” He was diagnosed with septic shock and placed into a coma for just over two weeks.

Septic shock is the “most severe stage of sepsis” – an extreme infection reaction that causes your organs to fail and blood pressure to become “extremely low,” according to the Cleveland Clinic, The potentially fatal sepsis stage can lead to brain damage and gangrene as well as lung, heart and kidney failure. 

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Britain’s Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay returns to work after having both his hands and feet amputated after he contracted sepsis. Mackinlay was rushed to hospital in September last year and spent 16 days in an induced coma before undergoing a quadruple amputation in December.

BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images


Health care workers told Kati her husband was “one of the illest people they’d ever seen” and had just a 5% chance to survive, Mackinlay told the BBC. When he finally woke up, his arms and legs “had turned black” to the point where “you could almost knock them.” The sepsis also caused scarring on his face and gums, leaving him with some loose teeth.

“I haven’t got a medical degree but I know what dead things look like,” he told the BBC. “I was surprisingly stoic about it. … It must have been the various cocktail of drugs I was on.” 

On December 1, his hands and feet were amputated. And it wasn’t long before he got prosthetics for his missing limbs – a solution that was welcomed, but difficult to adjust to.

“There was no muscle on them at all, it was quite horrible,” he said. “You picked up your leg and you can see a bone and a bit of sort of hanging.” 

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Britain’s Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay arrives by car at Westminster Palace, in central London on May 22, 2024 ahead of the weekly session of Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons. 

BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP via Getty Images


After spending weeks building up the necessary muscles and getting used to his new way of moving around, Mackinlay finally took his first 20 steps by himself on February 28. 

“After a really quite quick time you think, ‘I can do this,'” he said. “…Walking was my sign of success.” 

Getting used to his new hands, however, was a bit more difficult. Even with prosthetics, he said, “the hands are a real loss.” 

“You don’t realize how much you do with your hands… use your phone, hold the hand of your child, touch your wife, do the garden.” 

But Mackinlay isn’t interested in “moaning and complaining or getting down about the things you can’t do.” Instead, he wants to become known as the “bionic MP” and work on a campaign to educate others about sepsis. 

“When children come to Parliament’s fantastic education center, I want them to be pulling their parents’ jacket or skirts or their teacher and saying: ‘I want to see the bionic MP today,'” he said. “…You’ve got to be cheerful and positive about things you can do and I find every day there’s something new that I can do.”



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