British lawmaker who lost hands and feet to sepsis returns to parliament

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) - A British lawmaker returned to parliament on Wednesday, five months after losing his hands and feet to sepsis, receiving loud applause from colleagues and praise from the prime minister.

Craig Mackinlay, 57, said he wanted to be known as the first "bionic MP" as he returned to the House of Commons with prosthetic legs and hands following the life-threatening episode last year.

"This is an emotional day for me," he said, joking about how his new limbs meant he was breaking parliament's dress code by wearing trainers and no formal jacket.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Mackinlay was an inspiration and Speaker Lindsay Hoyle called him "the man of the moment".

Mackinlay, who represents Sunak's governing Conservative Party, has said he will campaign to make sure sepsis, which advances rapidly, is recognised earlier.

In sepsis, the immune system overreacts to an infection and the body starts damaging its own organs. The UK Sepsis Trust says it kills five people every hour in Britain.

Mackinlay said that he went to bed on Sept. 27 feeling unwell, and that within a day his body had turned blue.

He spent 16 days in an induced coma, waking to find his arms and legs had turned black. All were amputated last December.

He has learnt to walk again but says there are many difficult moments, especially on waking up every morning.

"You're in the 'land of nod' having a nice dream, and then you wake up and it's: 'I haven't got any hands'," he told the BBC.

The former accountant plans to fight the next election, which Sunak has said will be in the second half of this year.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kevin Liffey)