Triumphant Return: Bionic MP Mackinlay Champions Sepsis Awareness After Near-Death Battle


On an extraordinary Wednesday that broke the routine of British politics, unity, like a rare ornament, was discovered among the typically fragmented lawmakers of Britain. A glorious and heart-warming ovation welcomed the return of Conservative lawmaker Craig Mackinlay, making his unassisted progression into the time-honored walls of the House of Commons after a six-month hiatus due to his brutal battle with sepsis. A near-deadly encounter that plunged him into an induced coma, that, in an effort to save his life, necessitated the amputation of his hands and feet.

Mackinlay, harnessing the fervor of a triumphant gladiator, re-entered the political arena during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session, receiving a standing ovation across both sides of the aisle. Such a display, typically prohibited in parliament, was met with a forgiving smile by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle. “As you know, we don’t allow clapping,” he said, acknowledging Mackinlay’s wife and young daughter who watched from the public gallery with awe-struck pride. “But this is an exception.”

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The tenacious legislator, aged 57, expressed his determination to be recognized as “the bionic MP,” with ambitions far exceeding his political role. Mackinlay plans to champion the cause of greater awareness of sepsis and improve treatment and prosthesis provision to individuals who, like him, have suffered drastic limb loss — all under the umbrella of Britain’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS), the beacon of hope that witnessed his extraordinary comeback.

Paying tribute to his fellow parliamentarians within the historic walls of the Commons chamber, Mackinlay’s heartfelt gratitude extended towards Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Speaker Hoyle for their hospital visits during his convalescence. His sense of humor was unabated, jokingly suggesting that the formal black tailcoat worn by the speaker led fellow patients to perceive his condition as gravely serious, misinterpreting Hoyle’s presence as that of a funeral director.

Mackinlay’s plea for Sunak and his colleagues revolved around the necessity to prioritize the early detection of sepsis. He further implored the health service to ensure access to appropriate prosthetics for amputees. To the lawmaker, preventing others from losing their limbs to this monstrous condition is a measure of success that surpasses any political victory.

Reflecting on his personal ordeal, Mackinlay recounted how a series of hospital visits initiated on September 28, which saw him ravaged by sepsis, turning his body “bright blue” as the infection triggered severe clotting, depriving his limbs of life-giving blood. The ensuing septic shock plunged him into a coma, staring at a measly 5% chance of survival, leaving his wife in limbo.

Emerging from a 16-day coma, Mackinlay’s limbs had blackened and hardened, likened to plastic by the lawmaker. As his hands and feet became desiccated, they were amputated on December 1. Remarking on the excruciating irony of the situation, he expressed gratitude, “They managed to save above the elbows and above the knees,” he told the BBC, “So you might say I’m lucky.”

Defying odds and embodying resilience, Mackinlay plans to run again in the next elections, aiming to continue his representation of the South Thanet district of southeast England in Parliament since 2015. His jovial nature remains unscathed, “People can’t believe how cheerful I have been,” he shared. Acknowledging his situation, he added, “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.” This unwavering spirit captures the essence of Mackinlay’s story – one of resilience, optimism, and triumphant return to his vocation.