A mum in Cambridge is warning others of the dangers of sepsis after she had to have all four limbs amputated.
Over the last year Sadie Kemp has been in intense recovery after having her fingers and both legs below the knee amputated.
The 35-year-old from Peterborough has now instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to assist her with accessing the specialist lifetime care, support and therapies needed.
She has joined her legal team to call for lessons to be learned and raise awareness of the dangers of sepsis, reports Cambridgeshire Live.
An official investigation by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust has been launched into the diagnosis and treatment of Sadie’s sepsis and care.
It comes nearly a year after the mum of two went into septic shock and woke up from life support two weeks later to be told she would need to have all four limbs amputated.
Due to a kidney stone, Sadie had gone into septic shock and became seriously unwell, and her survival was called a “medical miracle”.
She spent 103 nights at Peterborough City hospital where she had all ten fingers amputated and endured an extensive recovery.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your immune system responds to an infection and starts to damage your body’s tissue and organs or they become necrotic.
Septic shock happens when someone with sepsis has a severe drop in blood pressure – this can be fatal.
Sadie said: “All I can remember was being in absolute agony because of the pain and the next thing I’d woken up in intensive care. Even now after all these months, I’m still trying to get my head around what happened and why it did.
“From what the doctors have told me in some respects I’m lucky that I survived what I did but I’m also upset at what happened to me and how it will affect me. I can’t thank the critical care staff enough, they did everything to save me and I’ll forever be indebted to them.
“However, it’s difficult not to try and be angry and emotional by what happened to me before and the issues in my care that have been highlighted.
“The last few months have been a real rollercoaster of emotions. The support I’ve had from my family and friends has given me real strength to try and face the future.
“While I wouldn’t wish what’s happened to me on anyone else, and it’s vital that lessons are learned, I also need to focus on what lies ahead.
“I want to be there for my kids, look after them and give them the best future I can. Being able to make the best possible recovery and having access to the best support is key to that.
“My leg surgery has gone well and the doctors seem happy so far. However, there is a still long way to go with regards to its long-term success. Sepsis is an absolutely horrendous condition and more has to be done to raise awareness of how dangerous it is. I just hope that by speaking out I can help others.”
It all began on Christmas Day in 2021, when Sadie was rushed to A&E at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, near Huntingdon with what she thought was back pain, leaving her in agonising pain.
She was given pain relief and advised to return if it proceeded to get worse but by the early hours of Boxing Day, Sadie returned to the hospital where she collapsed in front of doctors.
The mum to Kenzie, 17, and Hendrix, two, had gone into septic shock from a kidney stone which caused the skin on her arms and legs to become necrotic.
Sadie’s condition continued to deteriorate and she was transferred to Peterborough City Hospital in the early hours of December 26 where she was critically unwell and underwent surgery to remove the kidney stone.
The mum has now had several operations on both her amputated hands and on August 18, 2022, had both legs amputated below the knee. This is the first stage of osseointegration surgery in an attempt to save as much of her legs as possible.
The relatively new surgery is not available on the NHS so Sadie had to pay for the procedure privately. The procedure aims to save more of her leg and sees a prosthesis added directly into the body through the bone.
If successful the prosthesis fuses with the bone – becoming part of the body. The first stage of the private surgery cost Sadie £18,000.
Amie Minns, the specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Sadie, said: “The last few months and coming to terms with the life-changing consequences of Sadie’s sepsis have been incredibly difficult, not only for her but her family. She still faces an uncertain future and will need follow-up surgeries in the coming months.
“Understandably Sadie has had a number of concerns about what happened to her with the Hospital Trust’s investigation report finding extremely worrying issues in her care.
“While Sadie’s case vividly highlights the consequences people can be left to face because of sepsis it’s vital people continue to seek medical advice at the earliest opportunity as early detection and treatment are key to beating the condition.
“We continue to investigate on Sadie’s behalf to provide her with all the answers she deserves. We call on the Hospital Trust to work with us to resolve these concerns as quickly as possible, allowing Sadie to focus on accessing the specialist support and therapies she’s likely to require for the rest of her life.”
A GoFundMe page was set up by Sadie’s friends while she was on life support and is still helping to raise money for Sadie’s ongoing needs. You can donate to the GoFundMe page here.
The investigation by North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust is ongoing into Sadie’s case. A spokesperson for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, said: “There is an ongoing investigation into the care of Sadie Kemp and we are aware of the concerns raised.
“At this stage it would be inappropriate for us to comment further whilst litigation is taking place. We wish Miss Kemp well as she continues her recovery.”