Horror as dad suffers small cut to hand and ends up losing both his legs

A dad who suffered a small cut to his hand ended up losing his legs in a horror accident.

Darren Spence injured himself in a machine used to crush cardboard while working in a warehouse.

But a week after cutting his hand the 45-year-old began to feel really unwell.

He went to the A&E at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and was quickly taken to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle for emergency treatment.

Darren developed sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to an infection, and was put into an induced coma.

He woke up three days later to find that his legs had turned black and he had lost the feeling in them. Around a month later, he had to have both legs amputated below the knee.

Darren, who is dad to Sam, eight, and Jacob, one, told ChronicleLive : “I feel grateful to still be alive. I knew what sepsis was but I didn’t know the symptoms.

“It was a shock that it could happen from a cut. It’s shocked everybody that I have told.”

The dad-of-two worked as a warehouse supervisor for B&M, where his partner Aimee Dunning, 26, also works as a cashier.

He said he cut his right hand while working in April this year and thought nothing more about it.

Darren said: “It all started with a cut on my hand, it was a total accident. About a week later, I woke up feeling absolutely terrible.

“I started vomiting, I had aches and I had diarrhoea. I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest.

“At first I felt like I could manage it. The next day I came downstairs saying ‘Aimee I think I need to go to hosp’ – I couldn’t get the word hospital out. At that point I thought I was having a stroke.”

Darren was getting “worse and worse” as he waited with Aimee in the hospital waiting room.

He said: “My partner got her mam and dad to look after our youngest son and we went through to the hospital.

“At one point I was in the toilets lying down because I didn’t have any strength. Somebody came in and asked if I needed help. I told my partner I couldn’t feel my feet, it felt like pins and needles.”

Darren was told he would need to be transferred to the Freeman Hospital.

He remembers being put in the ambulance but cannot recall anything else until he woke up in intensive care.

He said: “I didn’t know where I was, it was very strange. When they told me I had had sepsis I was like wow. I had my legs for about a month – I think the doctors thought they would be able to save them.

“I knew, in my own head, I was going to lose them so I prepared myself a bit. I could tell by the colour of them and the lack of feeling. I was starting to not be able to feel them at all.”

Darren underwent surgery to remove one leg below the knee followed by the second.

He returned home from hospital in June and has spent the last few months adapting to being in a wheelchair.

He has now returned to work at B&M and he is now completing office talks.

Earlier this week, he received his new prosthetic legs.

He said: “I want to get on with my life and play football with the little one.

“I’m looking at life differently. I feel very lucky to have survived something like this that’s why I have taken it as well as I have.

“Ever since I came back to work everybody says I’m happier now then I was with my legs. I feel more confidence in myself for some reason. A lot of people thought I would be more self-conscious about it.

“I’ve had a few people come up to me and say ‘do you work here?’ When I say ‘yes’ they’ve said ‘good on you son’.”

Darren allowed pictures of his legs to be seen as he wants other people to be aware of sepsis and the damage it can cause.

He said: “When I look at my legs I feel a little bit gutted but life goes on.

“Sometimes I do get upset a little, but I just pull myself around and say you need to give your head a shake – it could have been a hell of a lot worse.”

Darren’s sister Leanne Charlton, 40, has set up a Go Fund Me page to help Darren become mobile again and get his independence back and has raiseed almost £1400 in donations.

The mum-of-two said: “He had to have both legs removed because of a little cut. It’s brought him out to be a different person. He sees life in a totally different way.

Darren added: “I want to think my partner for being there all the time, she never missed one single visit and she hasn’t slept upstairs since. She’s slept on the couch next to me.

“It’s really shocked me how much people care in the community, it makes me very proud. I’m just hoping to get some adaptions done to the house to make things easier.”