Dad’s arm and leg amputated after sepsis symptoms mistaken for flu

Sepsis: Dr Chris reveals how to reduce risk of infection

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A dad who went into hospital with a ”slight temperature” had his leg and arm amputated after battling sepsis. Junaid Ahmed, 35, was initially admitted to A&E with suspected flu. But he collapsed in hospital and woke up six weeks later in intensive care.

Junaid, from Ilford in east London, said: “I’d had a temperature for a couple of days and it wasn’t showing any sign of going away so I decided to go to my local A&E to get it checked out.

“The last thing I remember is having something to eat with my wife as we waited to be seen.

“Apparently I passed out and the next thing I remember is waking up in hospital six weeks later.”

While in hospital the recruitment worker was diagnosed with sepsis – an extreme response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Doctors believe he picked up the infection which led to sepsis while in hospital a month prior for a spinal procedure.

“Waking up six weeks later was the biggest shock of my life,” Junaid said. “I was terrified and so confused.

“Shortly after medics broke the news that to give me the best quality of life, I’d have to have my right calf, left forearm and left toes amputated.

“In that moment, I told them to do whatever they could. ‘I just wanted to live for my family, my kids and wife.”

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It was discovered that dad-of-two Junaid was also experiencing hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a rare disease caused by an overactive, abnormal response of the immune system – which was further compounding his health problems.

As a result of HLH, low blood pressure and sepsis, Junaid underwent multiple blood transfusions during his coma.

They saved his life, but the blood flow to his foot, arm and toes had already dropped so low they had started to die.

Medics broke the news Junaid would need to have his right leg, his left arm and left toes removed in order to give him the best quality of life.

In September 2022, he had two four-hour amputation surgeries and spent a further two months in hospital before starting physiotherapy in November 2022.

Junaid said: “I arrived at the rehab centre on a stretcher as I was unable to move at all.

“Within two days they had me in a wheelchair – it was incredible. Every time I told the nurses there that I ‘couldn’t do it’ they’d tell me that ‘no wasn’t an option’.

“It was the tough love that I needed, and after two weeks I saw a massive improvement in my strength.

“I kept thinking about my wife and kids and that kept me going.”

Junaid got a prosthetic leg in January this year, and walked back into his home in Ilford where he was greeted by his family.

His family have now set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise £100,000 for a bionic arm for Junaid. To donate visit

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe breathlessness
  • A high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • A change in mental state – like confusion or disorientation
  • Slurred speech
  • Cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Chills and shivering
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of sepsis you should call 999 or attend A&E.

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