‘I thought I had a common cold – weeks later doctors amputated both my legs’

A “superhero” dad who thought he had a cold ended up having both his legs amputated when he was diagnosed with sepsis.

At first Mathew Hicks, from Turriff in Aberdeenshire, took some paracetamol when he fell unwell with a temperature in March this year.
His wife Rachael eventually called an ambulance who rushed him to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where doctors found he had sepsis, Strep A and pneumonia in his right lung.

Matthew was placed in a coma when his organs started shutting down to save his life.

When he woke up two weeks later doctors told him blood was no longer getting to his feet and they needed to amputate both legs below the knee.
Mathew told Daily Record : “I didn’t really understand what was happening when I was told about my amputation because I hadn’t seen my feet.

“I just accepted what the consultant told me, but once I did eventually see the grey colour they had gone I was completely shocked.

“Then I was desperate to have them removed.”
Matthew’s daughter Evie, three, was unable to see her father for seven weeks, which Rachael said was the hardest thing throughout it all.

The 36-year-old said of her family’s ordeal: “He was taken straight to ICU and I was told he was critically ill.

“Mathew is usually fit and healthy. He had only been complaining about a bad cold and a high temperature but the paracetamol was helping so we both thought he was ok.
“I just couldn’t believe how serious it was. The doctors put him in a coma. I was told there had been no improvement and that as a last resort, they were going to use a machine called an ECMO to help keep him alive.”

An ECMO is a form of life support that provides cardiac and respiratory support by oxygenating the blood outside of the body.

The mum-of-one said the doctor was ‘painfully honest’ and told the family if the ECMO machine didn’t help stabilise Mathew’s organs, there were no options left.

Rachael continued: “We sat in silence and disbelief. We were so relieved when we were told Matthew had pulled through but then we were given more bad news about the amputation.

“Not for one minute did I think things would turn out this way.”

“Mathew has been so strong and amazing. His attitude has been so positive. His main focus is our daughter, Evie. She gives him the strength to push himself.
“Evie is such a daddy’s girl. Now she calls him her superhero.”

Mathew was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after 12 weeks of recovery.

He has since developed a heart condition as a result of the severe sepsis which has caused his heart to function at only 34%.

Doctors say only time will tell what effect it will have.

The family said they know they have a tough road ahead of them whilst Mathew adapts to a new way of life, but are hopeful for the future.
Mathew added: “I feel relieved to finally be home after all this time.

“My outlook to life has definitely changed. Prior to my illness I would work as much as possible, but now I realise that work is not everything and I plan to spend more time enjoying life and spending more time with my family.”

A fundraiser has now been set up to help the family’s garden accessible for Mathew which has so far raised more than £16,000.

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