Tom Ray has recently recounted the ordeal which followed his contraction of a pneumococcal virus in 1999, which saw him develop sepsis and require a quadruple amputation and skin grafts to his face.
Speaking to the UK’s The Mirror, Tom’s wife Nic recalled:
“Tom had been fit and healthy, but by 3am blood began seeping from his eyes.
Terrified, Nic screamed for the nurse, who finally called the consultant.
He was furious and shouted, ‘This man has sepsis’,” says Tom “‘Get him up to intensive care!’ All hell broke loose and by 4am blood tests confirmed it.”
The infection is believed to have been contracted during a dental procedure where Tom’s gum was cut, allowing the pneumococcal virus to enter his bloodstream.
Tom recalled that as his condition deteriorated rapidly:
“My fingers, toes, lips and nose had begun to turn black which meant gangrene had set in. They told Nic if they didn’t remove my arms, legs and the bottom half of my face, I wouldn’t survive.
“The 12-hour operation took place on my 39th birthday. It saved and devastated my life at the same time.”
This patient story has inspired a new film, ‘Starfish’, released in UK cinemas Friday, 28th October, which may highlight the dangers of pneumococcal infection, and potentially the importance of immunising against this vaccine preventable disease.
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