A Nurse’s Personal Story of Sepsis and a Healthcare-associated InfectionPosted on by
Guest Author: Sherrie Dornberger RN, GDCN, CADDCT, CDP, CDONA, FACDONA
Executive Director, National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA)
As a professional nurse turned patient, I have personally experienced the turmoil caused by poor healthcare delivery. I became a victim to a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), amongst other medical issues, while receiving medical care. Through a series of unfortunate medical errors, I became the victim of a full fledged case of sepsis throughout my body that left me in a coma for over a week in Intensive Care. Having a rich career in long-term care nursing, I quickly became a patient who was helpless to protect myself against further harm. Every patient should demand high quality medical care in all healthcare settings, both inpatient and outpatient – safer healthcare is possible.
As a long-term care nursing professional, I know it is imperative to properly use antibiotics to protect the safety of residents cared for across the U.S. in various long-term care settings, most notably skilled nursing facilities. Antibiotics should be used to treat actual infections and not used to treat asymptomatic residents due to the risk of developing antibiotic resistance. These drugs can work miracles for patients, but only when we use these medications carefully and appropriately. The microbes have no boundaries, so we must aggressively preserve our arsenal of antibiotics so that they will remain effective for patients, like me, when they need them most.
Each of us, patients and healthcare providers, plays a unique, yet equally critical role in preventing HAIs and sepsis in addition to reducing the development of antibiotic resistance. I live daily with the long-term effects of low quality care from a healthcare exposure. It is my professional and personal goal to ensure that all patients across the continuum of care receive the highest quality clinical care possible so others do not suffer the same tragedies that I have endured over the last few years. The National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care stands alongside the CDC in this fight against superbugs and sepsis.