Stephen Rae, 40, had to have his entire arm amputated after dismissing the laceration as minor. Years after his accident and death, he has spoken openly about how his world fell apart
A father-of-five has opened up about being forced to have his entire arm amputated after lightly scraping his ankle while working on his car.
Stephen Rae, 40, from Cumbernauld, was working on his engine when he injured his right hand in May 2017, the report daily record.
He dismissed his cut as minor, but it soon began to scab and shockingly developed a deadly form of sepsis.
The month after the accident, the father woke up to find his right arm inflated like a balloon. He was then taken to the hospital with an IV tube to treat the swollen arm due to blood poisoning.
Ten days later, the die-hard Celtic fan was released from Hairmyres Hospital but was admitted back just weeks later after the infection returned to his penis.
In December of that year, the 40-year-old mistook his symptoms for a bad flu when his right elbow became swollen.
He went to the hospital but passed out in the emergency room waiting room before waking up on life support in intensive care.
What happened to be a cyst in his elbow had ruptured, causing infection to spread to multiple organs as sepsis gripped his body.
After several more hospitalizations and deaths, medics decided to remove all tissue from his forearm in January 2020. They later removed his elbow joint.
But in May of that year, doctors at Wishaw General discovered that the cells at the site of bone fusion had become necrotic, meaning his best chance of survival was for his entire limb to be cut off.
Recalling a heartbreaking phone call to his wife Kelly, Stephen said: “I almost died three times. It’s usually three strikes and you’re out, so I’m pretty lucky.
“I was faced with never seeing my children and my wife again or having my arm amputated. There’s just no comparison, so I told the doctors to take it off.
“I called Kelly to tell her and I could barely speak because I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. She was like that. But it wasn’t really a difficult decision because the alternative is out of the question.
“I’m manual labor so it was a massive transition. It’s like my whole world collapsed. There are so many hurdles I have to face.
“The amount of care I need is unreal. I can’t even put on a pair of socks myself. That means my wife had to fill the whole gap. It’s the little things I can’t help with that I find the most difficult – like vacuuming or washing the dishes.
“Removing the arm also affects balance a lot. My wife has to do everything for me and the children – without her we would be in a fix. She is an absolute angel.”
Sepsis and recurring infections in his right injury nearly cost Stephen his life.
He said: “You think the sepsis is gone and then it comes right back. It’s scary how fast it crawls.
“It all started when I scratched my knuckles while working on the car. I thought nothing of it and just cleaned the cut like you normally would.
“A few weeks later I woke up and my right forearm and hand were badly swollen.
“I went straight to Hairmyres Hospital who admitted me and put me on IV antibiotics for 10 days. They put it down to blood poisoning (sepsis) and sent me home.
“But then in October it came back on my forearm. I was again taken to the hospital on IV antibiotics for another seven days before being discharged.
“A few days before Christmas there must have been a cyst in my elbow and it burst. I was getting hot and cold sweats so I figured it was the flu.
“Then my elbow started to swell. It took me three hours to put together a hospital bag. It felt like someone was sitting on my shoulders.
“I went to the A&E hospital and woke up in intensive care the next day. I had lost consciousness while sitting in the waiting room. I was hooked up to all these machines that kept me alive.
“They told me I was lucky that I went up then because if I had stayed home I would have died. When the cyst ruptured, an infection had gone straight through my system, crippling my organs one by one .”
Stephen was placed in a medically induced coma in January 2020 after suffering another infection.
He explained: “My wife noticed that I had no color. I took a taxi to Monklands Hospital and the driver had to help me get in.
“I was sitting in the waiting room and then I remember lying on my side on the floor. Doctors and nurses ran towards me.
“The next thing I know, I’m waking up two weeks later in Wishaw Hospital after being in an induced coma.
“They had removed my right forearm.
“I spent another week in intensive care before being sent to a ward for the next eight days and transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for a skin transplant. They were absolutely brilliant in there.”
In a last-ditch effort to remove the infection, Stephen’s elbow joint was removed, with the humerus and forearm bones fused with metal pins.
He spent six months with a metal cage around the affected limb but continued to suffer from infections, with his arm eventually amputated nearly a year later on May 25, 2022.
Stephen is now raising funds to earn enough money to buy a prosthetic limb to help him become a happy dad again.
He said: “It would mean the absolute world to me to get prosthetics as I could go back to being a hands-on dad instead of feeling like I was watching from the sidelines.
“There are many things I cannot do now. A reasonably decent prosthesis wouldn’t completely solve the problem, but it would definitely help a lot.”
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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dad-forced-arm-amputated-after-27325191 Dad had to have his arm amputated after slightly scraping his knuckles on the car