Tory MP Craig Mackinlay reveals his hands and feet were amputated after contracting sepsis

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay has spoken about having his hands and feet amputated after an episode of sepsis last year, and revealed he wants to be known as the “bionic MP” upon his return to Parliament.

The South Thanet MP’s ordeal began on 27 September last year when he felt unwell and, despite testing negative for Covid-19, saw his condition rapidly worsen overnight. His wife, Kati, called for an ambulance and Mr Mackinlay was admitted to a hospital in septic shock and put into a 16-day induced coma.

He told the BBC that he had a survival chance of just 5 per cent and was transferred to St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where he underwent amputations on 1 December.

Mr Mackinlay said that he was “extremely lucky to be alive” and had had some “extreme surgery” as a result of the illness.

He said he was “stoic” when he was informed of the decision by doctors to amputate his limbs. “I haven’t got a medical degree but I know what dead things look like. I was surprisingly stoic about it... I don’t know why I was. It might have been the various cocktail of drugs I was on.”

The MP has now been fitted with prosthetic limbs, and described the challenging road to recovery that he went through following the traumatic episode.

Mr Mackinlay spoke of the emotional toll and the significant adjustments required in life after the amputations, especially the loss of his hands. “You don’t realise how much you do with your hands... use your phone, hold the hand of your child, touch your wife, do the garden.”

He says his prosthetic hands are “amazing... but it’s never going to be quite the same”.

“So yeah, the hands are a real loss.”

He also spoke of the sense of loss the amputations still gave him. “You do get a little one every morning because you’re in the land of nod having a nice dream, and then you wake up and it’s ‘I haven’t got any hands’.

“That is the realisation every morning.

“It’s very easy to say - and I do try and stick to it - there’s not much point moaning and complaining or getting down about the things you can’t do.

“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.

“None of this would be possible without my wife… I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”

However, he remains positive and now plans to advocate for early sepsis recognition in healthcare so the “the health service recognises sepsis at the earliest opportunity”.

Before his illness, Mr Mackinlay was a chartered accountant and a former UK Independence Party member, elected as a Conservative MP in 2015. He intends to run in the next election and hopes to inspire others as the “bionic MP”.

“When children come to parliament’s fantastic education centre, I want them to be pulling their parents’ jacket or skirts or their teacher and saying: ‘I want to see the bionic MP today’.”