Alex Lewis Lost His Lips and Fought Death Due to Sepsis But Got Family Support
Designer Alex Lewis lived an ordinary life as a pub landlord and a stay-at-home dad with his loving girlfriend and son. However, his life changed overnight when he contracted a streptococcal infection.
What would have caused mild inconvenience for most people turned lethal for Lewis. He happened to have an infrequent reaction to the infection. It gave him blood poisoning and multiple organ failures, eventually leading him to become a quadruple amputee.
After his life took an unexpected turn, he found himself in a position he would have never dreamt of. Thankfully, his girlfriend and son’s presence helped him cope with the disaster and turn a new page in his life.
Alex Lewis’s Streptococcal Infection led to Sepsis
In November of 2013, Lewis caught a cold. As his partner ran the pub he owned, he thought he contracted the flu from one customer. So, he dismissed it, as something minor and didn’t pay it much heed.
However, when he woke up on the 17th of November, his skin had started turning purple. Excruciating pain assaulted him, and he grew semi-conscious. Lucy Townsend, his girlfriend, called for an ambulance and rushed him to the hospital.
The doctors diagnosed him with Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), a rare but serious bacterial infection that led to Septicaemia (also known as sepsis).
At the time, his vital organs had to be supported mechanically, and his blood was being forced around his body using norepinephrine, a chemical that helps increase heart rate and blood pumping.
Looking at his severe condition, the doctors said he had less than a 3% chance of survival. But thankfully, he survived after multiple surgeries and near-to-death experience.
Alex Lewis post-surgery. (Photo: Dailymail)
Unfortunately, he had lost all his limbs over multiple months. Worse still, he had to undergo facial reconstruction as the infection had ravaged his face, leaving him with no lips.
Lewis Lost All of His Four Limbs and Lips to the Condition
The rare condition took away his limbs and lips. But the doctors could graft the skins of his shoulder around his mouth. He had then “lips tattoed onto the skin.”
Dailymail reports that it was the world-first surgery done on someone to medically tattoo a face.
"The truth is that if you offered me my legs, arms and face back I wouldn't take them...This whole process has been a blessing more than curse," Lewis stated to FEMAIL.
His Family Supported Him with Love and Care during the Difficult Time
After 250 hours of surgery and more than 35 skin grafts, Lewis’s body was much different than before. It recovered well, but the loss of his arms and lips hit him hard.
The thing that devastated him the most was how his son Sam was scared of his change.
But as a stay-at-home dad, he was incredibly close to his son. So, the two managed to re-establish their previous relationship slowly. And he also relearned how to walk, eat, and do other primary actions with his fake limbs.
During his recovery phase, his partner, Lucy, was also supportive of him throughout and after the surgeries. She helped him pull through, and their relationship grew stronger, so much so that Lewis even proposed to Lucy in 2015.
Hollywoodmask hasn’t found any follow-up news regarding their wedding or marriage. But the family-of-three lives together and provides love and support to one another.
Lewis Moves on to Set Example for Son
Despite having lost all of his limbs, Lewis continued living a very fulfilling life. In an interview with the Metro in 2018, he revealed that he didn’t want his disability to win over his dreams. He also emphasized that he wanted to show his son Sam that his disability could never stop him from doing the things he wanted.
“He’s fine about everything now, and everything I do is to show that disability is not a problem, you just have to push on to find a way," he said.
"He sees me as quite resilient, and as he gets older he just accepts that this is me. I don’t want him to see me as someone who needs help.”
In addition to that, Lewis has shown determination to live a fulfilling life. In 2019, the larger-the-life persona visualized the interior for a hotel called The Grosvenor in Stockbridge through his iPad. In the same year, he also climbed an Ethiopian mountain.
When he is not designing stuff or spending time with his family, he speaks worldwide on topics like design, motivation, engineering, disability, and resilience.
'The Extraordinary Case of Alex Lewis' Told His Story
Alex Lewis’s fight with Sepsis, his recovery, and his brave determination to lead a normal life being a person with quadriplegia has been an inspiration to people worldwide. So, it is no surprise that a documentary has been made based on his journey.
Directed by Leonardo Machado, his documentary is titled The Extraordinary Case of Alex Lewis.