UK lawmaker with prosthetic limbs wants to be called the ‘bionic MP’


Conservative British legislator Craig Mackinlay returned to work on Wednesday, six months after his hands and feet were amputated due to sepsis.

The United Kingdom’s House of Commons joined in a standing ovation for Mackinlay during the weekly prime minister’s question session. Mackinlay said he wants to be known as “the bionic MP” and plans to raise greater awareness of sepsis.

“When children come to Parliament’s fantastic education center, I want them to be pulling their parents’ jackets or skirts or their teacher and saying: ‘I want to see the bionic MP today,’” he said.

UK lawmaker with prosthetic limbs wants to be called the ‘bionic MP’
Conservative legislator Craig Mackinlay speaks during an interview in the Central Lobby of the Palace of Westminster, London, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (Jordan Pettitt/PA via AP)

He also vowed to support Britain’s state-funded National Health Service, which treated him and saved his life, to offer better treatment and prosthetics to people who have lost more than one limb.

Mackinlay, 57, was taken to the hospital on Sept. 28 after feeling unwell. Within half an hour, he said he turned “bright blue” as sepsis caused clotting that stopped blood from getting to his limbs. Doctors later put him in an induced coma and had to amputate his hands and feet below the joints.

He asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ensure the health service would “embed recognition of early signs of sepsis” to “stop somebody ending up like this.”

Mackinlay also asked health ministers to ensure the “provision of appropriate prosthetics.”

Craig Mackinlay, Conservative MP for South Thanet, is applauded by members of Parliament as he returns to the House of Commons for the first time since he was rushed into hospital with sepsis on Sept. 28, which left him with both of his hands and feet amputated, at the Parliament in London, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (House of Commons/UK Parliament via AP)

“In the public gallery are many of the staff from the NHS who took me from where I was, close to death, to where I am today,” Mackinlay said. “Thank you for that.”

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body’s immune system has an extreme response to an infection, causing organ dysfunction. The body’s reaction causes damage to its own tissues and organs, and it can lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and sometimes death.

After suffering from septic shock, Mackinlay’s doctors told his wife he had a 5% chance of survival. When he woke from his induced coma 16 days later, he said his limbs had turned black and were hard “like plastic.” His hands and feet became “desiccated, clenched and drying,” he told the Daily Telegraph. A few days later, doctors amputated his hands and feet.

“They managed to save above the elbows and above the knees,” Mackinlay told the BBC. “So you might say I’m lucky.”

Mackinlay has represented the South Thanet district of southeast England in Parliament since 2015 and said he plans to run to become a member of Parliament again in the next elections.

“People can’t believe how cheerful I have been,” he said. “I have not had much to be cheerful about, but that’s my nature. There’s not much you can do about it, so there’s not much point in getting upset about it.”

Ailin Vilches
Ailin Vilches

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