Baby loses all his hands & feet after throat infection turns to sepsis


A mum has shared the horrifying details of her baby losing all four of his limbs after a throat infection turned into deadly sepsis.

Oliver Aisthorpe has made a miraculous recovery after doctors warned mum Abigail Wardle, 23, that her 11-month-old son wasn’t going to pull through.

And even after he beat the infection, Abigail, from Cleethorpes, in the UK, had to endure the horror of Oliver’s leg self-amputating and coming away in her hand as she held him in his hospital bed.

It was a shocking ordeal considering just 48 hours earlier he’d been a happy, giggling little boy.

Oliver Aisthorpe has made a miraculous recovery after a deadly illness robbed him of all four limbs. Picture: Caters News

Oliver Aisthorpe has made a miraculous recovery after a deadly illness robbed him of all four limbs. Picture: Caters News

“Oliver had seemed a bit under the weather. But that night, he got more ill and seemed lifeless,” Abigail said. “When I moved him, it was as though his bones were aching.”

The mum described Oliver as being “very pale and lethargic”. When he began “whimpering” and not wanting anything to eat, the worried mum took him to see a doctor who leapt into action.

“Everything was a blur. I still had no idea what was wrong with Oliver, I was just trying to hold it together as they were putting him to sleep.

“His hand and feet had started to go purple, and I just remember thinking he must be cold and telling them to put some socks on him.”

Even when a doctor said “your son is very sick”, Abigail said she had no idea how ill he really was.

Little Oliver before he contracted sepsis. Picture: Caters News

Little Oliver before he contracted sepsis. Picture: Caters News

“It was only when a nurse came over to speak to us and burst into tears that I realised how serious it was,” she said.

Doctors discovered the bub had sepsis, which had developed from an undiagnosed throat infection — that Oliver had never shown any symptoms of.

They managed to stabilise Oliver but warned Abigail that if he deteriorated they would not be able to save him.

She and Oliver’s dad were told twice that he was not going to survive, and they asked the hospital chaplain to baptise their boy.

Incredibly, though, the little boy pulled through and survived with no damage to his brain, but the sepsis has caused both hands and his legs to turn black and effectively die off.

Medics battled to save length in Oliver’s leg, but Abigail begged them to speed the operation along because she could see the leg self-amputating.

She said: “Oliver was out of the woods but they kept delaying a date for his amputations to try to save more of his leg — but I could see his body was trying to get rid of it.

“The limbs were heavy and uncomfortable. Oliver was miserable. I know it sounds like an odd thing for a mother to say, but I was desperate for them to take them off.

“One day, a nurse was helping me lift Oliver from his bouncy chair back into the bed and his leg just came away.

His mum Abigail has shared his story to help other parents spot the signs. Picture: Caters News

His mum Abigail has shared his story to help other parents spot the signs. Picture: Caters News

“The doctors came running in and asked me if I wanted to leave the room because it was quite distressing.

“I told them, ‘My son’s leg has just fallen off and is hanging on by a thread, I am not going to leave him here’.

“Once he had his limbs removed, he was like a different child — so happy and full of life, it seemed like a relief for him.”

Last month, Oliver was discharged from hospital and is now getting used to life without his limbs.

Just a few weeks on, Oliver is back home and making an incredible recovery, and medics even hope he could have his first prosthetic legs fitted in a few months.

Abigail is sharing their story in a bid to help other parents learn how to spot the signs of the killer bug.

The jewellery designer said: “Some people might feel sorry for us, but I feel like the luckiest mum in the world. I still have Oliver with us, he might not have any hands or feet but he is still my smiley, brave little boy.

“What we went through was horrendous, and I had never been so scared in my life.

“But Oliver was so brave that I knew I had to be brave too. I am his mum, and it’s my job to fight for him and make him feel safe.”

Abigail added: “I am just so proud of Oliver. He has taken everything in his stride and is just so incredibly resilient. He makes me smile every day.

Doctors didn’t think he would pull through. Picture: Caters News

“Already, he is trying to work out how to roll over and play with his toys with his stumps.

“I could have come out of the other end of this with no son, so that’s what I focus on.

“We have our bad days, but I know that there will be better days to come.

“I have to be positive because Oliver will copy me — it is my job to teach Oliver how to handle whatever life throws at him. Seeing his beaming face every day is enough to keep me going.”

According to the Sepsis Network Australia, sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, failure of multiple organs and death. Organ failure and death are more likely if sepsis is not recognised early and not treated promptly.

In 2018, the deadly disease was reported to have taken 5000 Australian lives, the ABC reported.

It’s known as the “silent killer” because symptoms are often mistaken for less serious ailments such as colds and coughs and many Australians have never heard of it.


Sepsis can deteriorate more rapidly in young children and infants, the SNA website states. Seek urgent medical care if your child has:

• Convulsions or fits

• Rapid breathing

• Discoloured skin, very pale or bluish

• A rash that doesn’t fade when you press it

• Fever or very low temperature

• Not passing urine (or no wet nappy) for several hours

• Vomiting repeatedly

• Not feeding

Originally published as Baby’s leg falls off in mum’s hand


Henry Sapiecha

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