Tamara was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Two months later, she lost her legs.


In May, Tamara Impellizzeri was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

She was prescribed antibiotics and sent home.

But just 24 hours later, her organs began to shut down.

Tamara’s lung had turned septic and before long, she was placed into a coma.

As the mother-of-seven’s body attempted to fight off the life-threatening sepsis, her limbs became robbed of blood flow and within days it was clear that she would have to lose some of her limbs.

Speaking with Lisa Wilkinson on The Project, the 42-year-old explained what it was like waking from the coma to learn that she would lose her feet and her left hand.


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This is Tamara…six months ago she was living life as a busy, able-bodied mother of seven, and then her entire world took a completely unexpected turn. She developed sepsis pneumonia. Tamara has now had both feet and one hand amputated, and this week she loses her right hand. Tamara’s greatest wish is to get home even for a few hours on Christmas Day to share It with her kids. But she still has a long way to go. And when she does get home, there will be enormous costs involved in modifying the home to accomodate her many needs just to get through each day. @tamaraimpellizzeri is without doubt one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met who lights up the lives of everyone she meets, and if you tune in to @theprojecttv tonight, you’ll find out why…. And if you’d like to help Tamara with her difficult road ahead, you’ll find the gofundme link in my bio. #Channel10 6.30pm #theprojecttv

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“I came out of the coma and there it was – it was black up to my elbows, it was black up to my knees,” she said.

“When I went back to sleep, it was probably the scariest. [I had] a lot of nightmares. I still remember them, I was burning in a lot of my dreams,” she continued.

“I couldn’t get out. In myself, I knew I couldn’t walk but in reality, I didn’t know that my legs couldn’t move.”

Weeks later, as Tamara’s fingers and toes blackened, she was told she would lose her legs up to her knees and her left hand.

At this point, she’s only has her right hand, and it’s likely she will lose it later this week.

tamara impellizzeri
Tamara spoke about her experience on The Project. Image: The Project.

Now, the mother-of-seven faces months of rehabilitation, replacing bandages, intensive physiotherapy as she learns to walk using prosthetics.

But despite the long battle to get back to the life she used to have, Tamara told Lisa she won't let the illness stop her from enjoying her life.

"There's seven beautiful children there, my husband who I've been with for 27 has got my back," she said.

"I know he's always had my back but this has been something that I'll never forget he has done – stick by me."


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A post shared by Tamara Impellizzeri (@tamaraimpellizzeri) on

With seven children aged between 19 and five years old, Tamara's family needs all the help they can get.


Tamara's sister has launched a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising funds so the family's house can be renovated to equip Tamara's needs.

At the time of publication, the fundraiser has more than doubled it's goal, raising $64,000 for the family.

You can donate to Tamara Impellizzeri and her family on Go Fund Me.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis, which is a deadly infection commonly referred to as blood poisoning, occurs when the body's response to infection injures tissues and organs.

It's a disease that kills about 5000 people a year – which is more than the national road toll.

In 2016, a national awareness survey found 60 per cent of Australians had not heard of sepsis, and only 14 per cent could name one of its symptoms.

Professor Simon Finfer, a member of the George Institute and director of the Australian Sepsis Network, previously told Mamamia the reason so few Australians had heard of the disease was because it was so arbitrarily dispersed throughout the medical system. Sepsis can arise from illnesses such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections, meaning people tend to talk about the original infection, not sepsis.

Common signs of the illness include fever, chills, rapid breathing, high heart rate, rashes, and confusion. Many of these symptoms are present in other, more well-known conditions, making it difficult to detect. But an early diagnosis can save a life.

For more information on sepsis, visit the Australian Sepsis Network.

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