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Montevideo, June 21st 2024 - 11:59 UTC

 

 

Standing ovation in Parliament for Craig Mackinlay, “The Bionic MP”

Friday, May 24th 2024 - 09:19 UTC
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Last December, Mackinlay's hands and feet were amputated. And it wasn't long before he got prosthetics for his missing limbs – a welcome solution but difficult to adjust to. Last December, Mackinlay's hands and feet were amputated. And it wasn't long before he got prosthetics for his missing limbs – a welcome solution but difficult to adjust to.

Craig Mackinlay, a conservative member of Parliament serving South Thanet, was given a standing ovation by his peers on return to his bench in Westminster. The “Bionic MP” as he likes himself to be called has prosthetic hands and feet, which were amputated following a septic shock, and the quick reply from his wife a pharmacist.

Mackinlay said he started feeling ill on September 27 last year. After a negative COVID test, he went to sleep. His wife Kati 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.

Health care workers told Kati her husband was “one of the most ill people they'd ever seen” and had just a 5% chance to survive, Mackinlay said. 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 news. “I was surprisingly stoic about it. ... It must have been the various cocktail of drugs I was on.”

On December first, 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.”

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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