A former MMA fighter who became an amputee after a cough led to septic shock is determined to walk again.

James Mackay, 52, developed a persistent cough and was admitted to Milton Keynes University Hospital, Buckinghamshire when it continued to get worse.

He was diagnosed with Strep A and went into septic shock - where blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level after an infection - a few days after being admitted. 

The dad-of-two spent six weeks in a coma and three months in intensive care.

James had his fingers, thumbs and both legs below the knee amputated after he was put on artificial life support.

Bucks Free Press: James Mackay

The machine saved his life, but also meant his extremities weren't getting enough circulation as his body began to shut down and attempted to preserve only his vital organs. 

James is home after a year in hospital and is determined to walk again on his new prosthetic legs.

James, who was working for a children's charity prior to being hospitalised, from Cranfield, Milton Keynes said: “Being a dad you’re supposed to be invincible.

"I was super fit I was running 30 miles a day, now I can’t even wash myself.

“It’s still very hard to come to terms with.

“I will be able to walk again. I’m convinced of it."

James had been running ultra marathons before he started coughing in December 2022.

He was admitted to hospital when it persisted and went into septic shock after being diagnosed with Strep A.

James was transferred to Royal Brompton Hospital and was put in an induced coma for six weeks. 

He was put on a machine called ECMO - extracorporeal membrane oxygenation - where blood is pumped out of the body and through devices that add oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from it. 

After waking up from the coma he had a cardiac arrest, and narrowly avoided death, before being transferred back to Milton Keynes hospital where he stayed in intensive care. 

James said: “I weighed 15 stone when I went into a coma. When I finally left hospital, I was under eight.

“I couldn't move or even talk for months as every muscle had just wasted away. I could only move my eyes. 

"When I saw the colour of my hands and feet, I knew they were coming off.” 

James’ fear was confirmed by doctors, who said as a result of his life-saving ECMO treatment his body had shut off blood supply to his extremities in order to save his life.

James had to wait until May 2023 for the amputation, as doctors believed he was too week to have the operation until then.  

His hands and feet had to be cleaned and dressed everyday as they were literally rotting away.  

James said: “It was horrific, one day my thumb just dropped off as doctors were cleaning my hands. It was like something from a horror film.” 

James had all fingers and thumbs amputated as well as both legs below the knee in May 2023 at Bedford Hospital. 

He said: “That was very strange, and extremely painful – there are so many nerve endings on your fingers – even now it’s still bad."

James was released from hospital in December 2023 but has a long journey of recovery ahead of him.