Strep A infection means ‘fit’ UK dad to lose fingers, toes after sore throat led to life-threatening sepsis battle


A once ‘”fit” and healthy dad is facing losing his fingers, toes, and possibly, his feet after a sore throat spiralled into a life-threatening medical emergency that caused his body to start shutting down.

UK man James Wood is known by loved ones as an active friend and dad who “thinks nothing of riding 30 to 50 miles on a Sunday morning”.

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But this all changed when Wood, aged in his 30s, started feeling unwell with a sore throat one February afternoon.

Wife Linsey quickly noticed his “yellowish” appearance and called paramedics, who rushed Wood to Chesterfield Royal Hospital with suspected sepsis — blood poisoning by bacteria.

UK dad James Wood is facing losing his fingers and toes and possibly his feet after a sore throat spiralled into a life-threatening sepsis infection that caused his body to start shutting down. Credit: GoFundMe

Wood’s condition quickly deteriorated and doctors revealed his body was shutting down on him, friends wrote in a fundraiser.

“He was experiencing multiple organ failure — his kidneys and liver had already stopped working, and his blood pressure was dangerously low due to the sepsis. His body was going into septic shock,” the fundraiser said.

His family rushed to his side as Wood was placed in an induced coma while his organs were supported by a ventilator and dialysis.

Doctors confirmed his condition had been caused by Strep A — a bacterial infection that generally causes sore throats. In serious cases, it can lead to sepsis, meningitis and pneumonia.

“James was described by NHS staff as being one of the poorest patients in the country with the odds of survival stacked firmly against him,” his friends said.

However, after 10 days, Wood was weaned off life support and began to get stronger.

“His eyes began to flicker and then blink; he raised his eyebrows,” friends said.

“Each day, he was getting stronger, and he was soon nodding his head, moving limbs and becoming more aware of the people around him.”

‘A waiting game’

A month later, he was able to return home, with health experts crediting his age and fitness levels with helping save his life.

While his loved ones are grateful Wood is still alive, the dad faces a long road to recovery.

The severity of his sepsis meant he suffered serious damage to his hands and feet from poor blood flow and is likely to lose the majority of his fingers and toes.

“It is still a waiting game to see if his feet can recover,” friends said.

James Wood in hospital. Credit: GoFundMe
The severity of his sepsis means James Wood faces losing his fingers to the knuckle and toes and possibly his feet. Credit: GoFundMe

Despite this life-changing setback, Wood is pushing himself each day to move further with his crutches and walking frame and is determined to get back on his bike and enjoy time with his girls.

Wife Linsey said the family was “overwhelmed” with the care her husband had received.

“James is very optimistic about the future and grateful to be alive after all he has been through,” she said in a statement.

“He now has the chance to see his children grow up, which at the darkest of times we didn’t think this would be possible.

“He is showing incredible positivity and is determined to carry on doing the things he loves to do.”

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