Once super-fit personal trainer learning to walk again after multiple amputations due to sepsis

He developed a cough which wouldn’t go away
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A once super-fit personal trainer is having learning to walk again after both legs and all his fingers were amputated when he suffered life-threatening sepsis.

Health-conscious James MacKay, 52, had completed 72 mile bike rides and daily three hour yoga sessions before developing a cough which wouldn't go away.

Just two hours after dialling 111 he was rushed by ambulance to hospital and shortly lapsed into a coma.

A once super-fit personal trainer is having learning to walk again after both legs and all his fingers were amputated when he suffered life-threatening sepsis. Health-conscious James MacKay, 52, from Cranfield developed a cough that wouldn't go away. PHOTOS: SWNSA once super-fit personal trainer is having learning to walk again after both legs and all his fingers were amputated when he suffered life-threatening sepsis. Health-conscious James MacKay, 52, from Cranfield developed a cough that wouldn't go away. PHOTOS: SWNS
A once super-fit personal trainer is having learning to walk again after both legs and all his fingers were amputated when he suffered life-threatening sepsis. Health-conscious James MacKay, 52, from Cranfield developed a cough that wouldn't go away. PHOTOS: SWNS

He was diagnosed with a Strep A bacterial infection which triggered sepsis - a condition where the body's immune system turns on itself.

Over the next few weeks Jame's weight dropped from 15 stone to just a frail seven stone as the infection 'chewed through his muscles.'

Surgeons were then forced to amputate both legs from below the knee and all his fingers.

Mr Mackay, 52, said: "The hospital were throwing antibiotics at me and my family were told that I was going to die anyway so they had nothing to lose in treating me."

James Mackay undergoing rehabiliation and learning to walk again. PHOTO: James Mackay / SWNSJames Mackay undergoing rehabiliation and learning to walk again. PHOTO: James Mackay / SWNS
James Mackay undergoing rehabiliation and learning to walk again. PHOTO: James Mackay / SWNS

The father of two to Ellie-Mae, 22, and Joseph, 13, was in a coma for over six weeks while doctors battled to save his life in Christmas, 2022.

Mr Mackay, from Cranfield in Bedfordshire, said: "It was challenging waking up because of the pain - my thinking was all over the place, I didn’t know what was real."

"I was 96kg (15 stone) when I was admitted into hospital and when I came out I had dropped to 50kg (seven stone) which was almost half of my body weight.

"The infection just chewed away at all of my muscles and I could only move my eyes – it was scary."

The sepsis survivor said he knew they were going to amputate his fingers and hands as they had turned black.

He said: "I was so grateful to be alive I wasn’t bothered about it – which might sound crazy on reflection."

After the quadruple amputation, the personal trainer of 20 years spent six months in a rehabilitation unit learning how to walk and use his hands again.

He said: "The recovery has been really tough.

"You rely on your hands for absolutely everything so to not have fingers, it takes away all your independence.

"I used to use the gym as a coping mechanism for my mental health and now that's been taken away from me."

Mr Mackay now has prosthetics fitted to his legs, giving him back some of the independence he lost.

Close friend Claire Hembrow, who used to work as a personal trainer with James, has set up a GoFundMe for specialized blades to help him run again.

She said: "Our aim is to get him stronger and to be able to get some prosthetics that help him lead a more ‘normal’ life again.

"I just want to get him back up on his feet with things to look forward to."

Mr Mackay added that it was a "nice feeling" when someone donates and they have hit £1k in their fundraising.

He said: "I live by myself with carers coming in and out but I don’t want to be forgotten.

"I’d like to walk better, and then start running again before eventually going back to work and do something voluntarily where I can help other people."

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