A former police officer who lost both legs, eight fingers and parts of his nose after contracting septicaemia has spoken about his ordeal - and revealed he will soon be a dad.
Dean Smahon was left with a 10 per cent chance of survival after he fell ill in October 2010 and hospital staff missed opportunities to treat his sepsis in time.
But the 54-year-old pulled through and is now looking forward to becoming a father for the first time.
Mr Smahon, who worked as a police officer in Northern Ireland before moving to Leeds, is telling his story as part of Sepsis Awareness Month.
He became ill six years ago and was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary. He was placed in an induced coma after his flu-like symptoms of pain in his hip, fever and shakes worsened and his body fell into septic shock.
He was released from hospital three months later but needed 30 operations over two years, which included amputations to his legs, hand, fingers, parts of his nose and right ear, and a hip replacement. He also suffered from depression as he struggled to adapt.
Mr Smahon, who had only been in a relationship with his wife Kirsty for seven weeks before falling ill, said: “I was active, I liked to keep fit, I had pride in how I looked, I’d met a girl I really liked and all of a sudden I had to cope with losing my legs, hand and bits of my face.
In 2015, lawyers secured Mr Smahon an interim payment, which allowed him to buy better prosthetics, an adapted car, rent a bungalow, purchase home gym equipment and obtain rehabilitation therapy.
They are now trying to secure an award for damages. Mr Smahon, who represented Northern Ireland in javelin as a teenager, married 36-year-old Kirsty three years ago. The couple are expecting their first child in February after IVF treatment - something the father-to-be said he never dreamed they would be able to do.
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TRUST TELLS OF REGRET OVER CARE
Leeds Teaching Hospitals said the Trust was implementing an improvement programme for the treatment and care of people with sepsis after Dean Smahon’s treatment in Leeds.
Suzanne Hinchliffe, the chief nurse and deputy chief executive at the Trust, said: “We regret that Mr Smahon did not receive the prompt treatment for his infection that he had the right to expect, and we reiterate our sincere apologies to him and his wife for these failings.”