Leeds & West Yorkshire

Amputee to be father after septicaemia ordeal

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Media captionDean Smahon in hospital

A man who lost both his legs, eight fingers and part of his nose after contracting septicaemia is to become a father for the first time.

Dean Smahon, 54, had a 10% chance of survival when he fell ill in 2010 and hospital staff missed opportunities to treat his sepsis in time.

The former police officer from Londonderry was living in Leeds.

He was placed in an induced coma at Leeds General Infirmary after his flu-like symptoms.

The pain worsened and his body fell into septic shock.

Septicaemia or sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

Image copyright Family Handout/PA
Image caption Mr Smahon has needed about 30 operations including several amputations

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has since admitted its staff missed opportunities to treat Mr Smahon's infection and has apologised.

He was released from hospital after three months but has undergone 30 operations over two years including amputations to his legs, hand, fingers, part of his nose and right ear.

The former Northern Ireland javelin thrower had only been in a relationship with his wife Kirsty for seven weeks before falling ill.

He 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.

Image copyright Family Handout/PA
Image caption Mr Smahon married his wife Kirsty three years ago and used prosthetic legs to walk down the aisle

"I'd lost my dignity and self-worth. Kirsty left her teaching job to care for me.

"It was a very dark period and I felt as though life wasn't worth living."

The couple are expecting their first child in February after IVF treatment, something Mr Smahon said he never dreamed they would be able to do.

Lawyers helped him to get an interim payment in 2015 to buy better prosthetics, an adapted car and rent a bungalow.

His legal team is now trying to secure him an award for damages.

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