Mother-of-two gets limbs amputated following kidney stone infection, but is 'happy to be alive'

03 Jan 2024 02:50pm
The mother-of-two remains in good spirits despite losing her limbs. Photo - GoFundMe
The mother-of-two remains in good spirits despite losing her limbs. Photo - GoFundMe

Lucinda ‘Cindy’ Mullins, a devoted mother-of-two awoke from the fog of anesthesia to a cruel reality when she discovered that both her legs were amputated post-surgery.

The 41-year-old was initially in the hospital to undergo a kidney stone operation. However, a stone infection resulted in sepsis, which prompted doctors to make a life-saving decision by removing her legs and knees below.

Mullins was rushed from Fort Logan Hospital in Standford to UK Hospital in Lexington where she was sedated for days.

But the devastation didn’t end there. Not only was she bereft of her legs, but doctors also explained that in order to save her life, her arms, from the elbows down, would also have to go.

“I’ve lost my legs from the knees down bilaterally and I’m going to lose my arms probably below the elbow bilaterally.

Lucinda ‘Cindy’ Mullins. Photo - GoFundMe
Lucinda ‘Cindy’ Mullins. Photo - GoFundMe

“The doctors I used to work with, he kind of was like, “this is what they had to do to save your life, this is what’s happened,” said Mullins in an interview with the New York Post.

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But even in the face of unimaginable pain, Mullins remains optimistic and has chosen to embrace her physical limitations.

Feeling grateful to be alive, Mullins said “I just said these are the cards I’ve been dealt and these are the hands I’m going to play.

“I’m just so happy to be alive. I get to see my kids, I get to see my family. I get to have my time with my husband. Those are minor things at this point.”

She eventually had her arms amputated and is now on her road to recovery at Cardinal Hill Rahibilation Hospital.

So, what are kidney stone infections and sepsis? Let’s understand it better.


According to the National Library of Medicine, renal calculi, commonly referred to as kidney stones, nephrolithiasis, or urolithiasis, are solid formations comprised of minerals and salts that develop within the kidneys. These formations have the potential to impact any segment of the urinary tract, extending from the kidneys to the bladder.

Various factors contribute to the formation of kidney stones, including dietary choices, excessive body weight, specific medical conditions, and the use of certain supplements and medications. The intricate interplay of these elements can lead to the development of these hard deposits, causing discomfort and potential complications within the urinary system.


The National Kidney Foundation revealed that kidney stones come in various types, with calcium oxalate stones being the most prevalent. These form when there are elevated levels of calcium and oxalate in the urine.

Uric acid stones, on the other hand, develop in individuals experiencing excessive fluid loss from chronic diarrhea or those following a high-protein diet.

Struvite stones are a different category, arising in response to urinary tract infections. Notably, these stones can grow rapidly and attain significant size.

Cystine stones, the rarest type, stem from an inherited condition called cystinuria, which influences the amount of acid excreted in the urine. Each type poses unique challenges and considerations for diagnosis and treatment.


The presence of kidney stones can result in intense pain, particularly when they obstruct the ureter or lead to a kidney infection.

Symptoms of kidney stones and kidney infections share similarities, encompassing pain in the side of the abdomen or groin, elevated temperature, perspiration, recurring severe pain, nausea or vomiting, blood in the urine, and signs of a urinary tract infection.

Neglecting treatment for kidney stones can give rise to complications, including kidney damage, kidney failure, or bloodstream infections. Early detection and appropriate intervention are crucial in mitigating the potential risks associated with kidney stones.


Infections related to kidney stones can manifest when a stone obstructs the ureter, causing an accumulation of waste products and bacteria. This blockage becomes a catalyst for kidney infections since waste products are impeded from passing, leading to bacterial buildup.

Symptoms of a kidney infection mirror those of kidney stones and may involve a heightened temperature, chills, weakness, cloudy and unpleasant-smelling urine, and, in certain instances, blood in the urine.

Beyond blockages, certain medical conditions, urinary tract infections, and a family history can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Understanding these factors is crucial in managing and preventing complications associated with kidney stone infections.


Mayo Clinic explained that the approaches to treating kidney stones is contingent on the stone's size and the severity of symptoms. Small kidney stones may go unnoticed and pass out painlessly in the urine.

For larger stones, medical intervention may be necessary. Options include shockwave lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to break up the stones, uteroscopy, involving the insertion of a thin tube to remove or break down stones, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, a surgical procedure to access and remove stones, or nephrolithotripsy, which involves breaking down stones using laser energy.

The choice of treatment is tailored to the specific characteristics of the stone and the individual's condition.


Sepsis is a critical response by the body to an infection, which can be life-threatening. It occurs when an existing infection sets off a chain reactions throughout the body.

The majority of sepsis cases originate before a patient seeks hospital care. Infections leading to sepsis commonly initiate in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract.

Sepsis can swiftly progress to tissue damage, organ failure, and potentially, death without prompt intervention.

This emergency condition results from the body's heightened reaction to an infection, releasing chemicals into the bloodstream that induce widespread inflammation and organ damage.

Mayo Clinic revealed that sepsis can be triggered by various infections, including bacterial, viral, or fungal ones.

Recognisable symptoms encompass fever, chills, accelerated breathing and heart rate, as well as confusion and disorientation.

If untreated, sepsis can advance to septic shock, causing a significant drop in blood pressure and harming vital organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and liver.