You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Woman is to undergo rare double hand transplant surgery having lost all her limbs to sepsis

A woman is to undergo rare double hand transplant surgery having lost all her limbs to sepsis - after suffering a common urinary tract infection (UTI). Kim Smith, 61, spent nine weeks in a coma and had her hands and legs amputated after she contracted the UTI on holiday in Spain with her husband in 2017. She woke one morning feeling really unwell, suffering intense back pain, a fever and felt like she 'was going to die'. Kim was rushed to the hospital in Elda, Spain, by her husband Steve, 63, after begging him to get her help. Doctors diagnosed her with sepsis and almost immediately put her into an induced coma - which lasted nine weeks. She was flown back home to England in a coma after six weeks where she spent three more weeks unconscious in Milton Keynes Hospital. When she woke, surgeons told Kim her hands and legs would have to be amputated as they had gone black and completely died. She was then taken to Bedford Hospital for the major surgery and spent over three months recovering, before attending Queen Mary’s Hospital, in Roehampton, for rehabilitation. Kim, from Walnut Tree, Milton Keynes, then had to learn how to sit up and move again. She said: “For almost six months, I was just in bed until I got to go to rehab. I didn’t know how to sit up as my muscles had just gone. It was horrible! “I could see that it was obvious that my limbs needed to be amputated. When the doctor said it I just said ‘Yes that’s fine. Get it done!’ "I knew enough to see they were useless and that nothing else could be done." She is currently on the waiting list for a double hand transplant at Leeds General Infirmary, which has successfully performed 14 life-changing transplants since 2016. Kim, who used to work as a hairdresser and cannot work since the amputation, says she misses her hands most of all as she cannot do things for herself. Husband Steve, who was a vehicular collection and delivery driver before Kim's illness, is now Kim's main carer. She also has health assistants who help with showering, dressing and other personal care. After the transplant, Kim hopes to be able to cook, sew and do everything for herself again, as well as spreading awareness about sepsis all over the country. The preparation for a transplant includes ensuring Kim has immunity to a range of illnesses. She is currently awaiting chicken pox vaccinations, which is the last step in her preparation before undergoing the surgery. Kim's experience with doctors was overall positive, however, she says she suffered abuse from several nurses. “Sadly at each hospital, there was always one bad nurse. "The first physically abused me, the second was very rude to me for needing help and the last one refused to let me have privacy, which was really difficult to cope with. “Because of my time in hospital, my mental health was at rock bottom. I’d learned all I needed to get on with my life so they let me go home after.” Kim had never heard of sepsis before she was taken ill, which is why she decided to post about her journey online, to raise awareness about sepsis and its potentially devastating effects. She uses social media to share videos about her life now and how to spot potential signs of sepsis, which can mean the difference between life and death. Kim uses resources from The UK Sepsis Trust to share how there is no one symptom of sepsis and that it is absolutely vital to ask healthcare providers if it could be sepsis. She added: “The doctors did an X-ray on me just two days before I was admitted, but as nothing was broken, they sent me away. "The following day I was prescribed antibiotics but the pharmacy had no stock so we were told to come back the next day - that night I was rushed to the hospital. “I had absolutely no idea what sepsis was or how serious it is. It’s absolutely vital everyone knows how devastating sepsis is and how it can kill people so quickly. “I believe I was saved to use my voice and to share my shocking story to help save others' lives. “I get an awful lot of people saying I’m an inspiration, I deserve an MBE or OBE or that they couldn’t cope with this, but you just have to get on with life. “I have an amazing husband & family who have helped me through without their love & support things would be very different I’m sure.” The couple both have children

UP NEXT

UP NEXT

More From SWNS - Raw

More From SWNS - Raw

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon