A Family’s Perspective – “The Brutality of Sepsis will Haunt Us for the Rest of Our Lives”

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
Franchot Karl
Franchot Karl

Guest Author: Franchot Karl

Sepsis. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. It’s one of the leading causes of death, particularly in hospitals, but most people have never heard of it. My sister and I had barely heard of it, until we lost our beloved mother because of it two years ago. The brutality of sepsis will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

When our grandmother died of sepsis at 84 years old, back in 1990, I assumed it was an old people’s disease. I thought you get old, go into a hospital or nursing home, get the inevitable hospital infection (sepsis) and die. After all, hospitals and nursing homes are crawling with germs, right?

Well fast forward to now, millions of deaths and many medical negligence cases later, the real truth is coming to light. I debate sepsis is an actual disease. Unlike heart disease, diabetes or cancer, sepsis is usually the result of something else, like a cut or scrape, surgeries or invasive devices. We are all at risk. Sepsis is a dire emergency that can kill the young or the old. It does not discriminate.

In early 2012, mama had a blood clot surgically removed from the femoral artery. She seemed to recover well, but the wound incision leaked nonstop. Soon she complained of extreme weakness, had sporadic fevers and could not urinate. It wasn’t long before she was fighting for her life in a city hospital. After one week of hospitalization, a large, grotesque abscess was found at the surgical site on her left groin. Incision and drainage was done; it was all that was done. At mama’s death on May 9, 2012, her left groin, lower left torso and thigh were eaten away. Her underlying flesh and muscle were exposed. It was a brutal death for such a beautiful person.

With all the touted advances in medicine, sepsis still seems to be shrouded in ignorance and neglect; yes, neglect. If there’s anything that my sister and I have taken from this devastating experience, it’s knowledge. If we knew then what we know now, I wouldn’t be writing this. Always identify someone who can accompany yourself or your loved one to act as an advocate. Ask questions, demand answers. If you don’t get them, seek other opinions. Learn the symptoms of sepsis. Flu-like symptoms, low grade or sporadic fevers, low body temperature, extreme lethargy, inability to urinate. Learn what tests can better indicate sepsis. CBC (complete blood count) with differential. It gives readings of white blood cell counts and red blood cell counts, platelets and hemoglobin. Learn the names of certain germs and terms that are linked to sepsis – VRE (Vancomycin- resistant Enterococcus), E. coli, pseudomonas aeruginosa, klebsiella, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and necrotizing fasciitis. Look to great resources, such as the Sepsis Alliance, read their stories of hope and survival, and when the internet becomes overwhelming, turn to a great book by Dr. Harlan R. Weinberg called Dr. Weinberg’s Best Health Resources on the Web. We don’t have to die of sepsis.

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165 comments on “A Family’s Perspective – “The Brutality of Sepsis will Haunt Us for the Rest of Our Lives””

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    My mom -74yo- went into severe sepsis after her colon ruptured in two places. A colonectomy was performed followed by three other procedures to clean her out and close the wound.

    She is now in in-patient rehab after 11 days in ICU. She is not the same woman. Her moments of lucidity are few. She is struggling with speech and physical therapy. We have not heard anything from any doctor about Post-Sepsis Syndrome, but I am certain that is where she is. I’m eager for resources. I want to know what are future looks like and if there is any hope for anything that resembles full recovery.

    I just lost a good friend of mine to septsis. I spoke to him on Sunday 2/16/20 and we talked about working on his boat. I told him I had a few things to get out of the way then we can get the boat in the garage and get it ready for spring. He called me Monday and told me he has made several sheds and he has sold a couple of them. I told him I need to see the machine he bought that cuts up trees and makes planks. He dries out the wood and makes sheds. I didn’t speak to him all week. He daughter called me Saturday evening and told me that her dad is very ill and the family wants us up to see him. My wife and I got dressed and went to the hospital. When we got there he was in an induced coma. His wife said he had a fever of 103. Tested him for the flu, came back negative so they sent him home. That was Tuesday 2/18/20. Thursday his fever has not gone down and went back to the hospital. They preformed chest X-rays and it was good. Sent him home. Saturday morning he couldn’t even stand. His wife rushed him to the emergency room. They finally admitted him. He had a red blotch on his right forearm. They had to operate on his right forearm because it was discolored. They found a small muscle that was dead. They said it was removed and left the incision open so it heals from the inside out. We left at 3:00am Sunday morning and went home. Sunday afternoon his wife called and said come to the hospital because God is going to take him. He fell into septic shock and his blood pressure kept falling. We lost him that night. I will miss my friend and best man to this horrible illness.

    On the 14th of February 2020 the father of my child suddenly died..that’s on Valentines day..I am still in shock..today is the 22nd ferry 2020, we buried him yesterday…A week ago he complained of headaches and constipation and being tired..We asked him to take some laxativesort. On the 12th we talked to him on the phone he said he rather die that he is tired of the headache.on the 13th my daughter visited him and his eyes were closed and he looked very week..She tried to feed him bananas and grapes also water .since she thought he was weak from running stomach she told him he must drink mageu before he sleep at night .he was just responding without opening eyes.when she told me i became shocked and told her he maybe dying why didn’t she call me or an ambulance. .she told me to open my WhatsApp and check messages and pictures. .It was already late and i didn’t have enough petrol..its far from us, maybe 50km. I tried to check the address so that i can send an ambulance we dint find it..In the morning she rushed there and find an umbulance called by someone taking him..They say there was foam coming from his mouth and hands crossed on the chest..i could go there since the previous day i took leave and told her to call me if no improve mental. .He was not responding like in a coma..at tge hospital they tried everything but still nothing..They were scared to tell my daughter who is 25 years..And told someone to take her home. She told her they must go and that doctors will revive him..later while on her way home she got a call that he passed away..She called me crying.i was devastated felt guilty and and am still..The postmortem say SEPSIS ..I googoled and learned about it..He was a self employed person.installing cupboards, tiles and ceilings. .maybe he cut himself but in DECEMBER someone banged him across the wall and he started complaining of his hurting spine..went to clinic and only given pain killers now and then. .We never thought it was bad till he decorated on the 13th. . I AM STILL CRYING WUSHING I COULD HAVE HELPED .MY DAUGHTER TOO FELLS GUILTY AND CRIES NOW AND THEN THINKING SHE COULD HAVE CALLED AN AMBULANCE..STILL MOURNING . I PLANNED TO TAKE HIM TO MY PLACE AFTER TAKING HIM TO DOCTORS THAT COMING WEEKEND BUT…😰😵😠

    My 96 year old mom had a UTI that was asymptomatic. My sister visited her one night in Jan and she was shivering. My sister took her to nurse at 55+ development and nurse said to put her to bed. THIS WAS INCORRECT ADVICE WE NOW KNOW. My sister followed nurses advice. Next morning our mom was confused and unable to follow instructions. We took her to ER at local hospital that day where the UTI was diagnosed. They told us she would be confused during day and she would recover her mental capacity as day went on. THEY WERE WRONG. Our mom was suffering septic embolism to brain and was actually having strokes. She became unresponsive, unable to speak. I managed to wake her briefly and still unable to talk she shook her head yes that she loved us and that she was in no pain. She even squeezed my hand when I asked her to. That night she became unresponsive and died from Septic Embolism Stroke the next day. She was a healthy 96 with no illnesses and a sharp mind. We lost her tragically to this little understood illness. If we had known we would have taken her to the hospital as soon as we saw her shivering. I am sorry no one spoke to us about this symptom and how to react if it occurred. I know now – too late – that shivering in the elderly is a warning sign to get to a hospital immediately. May the memory of my mom be a blessing forever. I am glad it was a painless and quick death.

    My cousin is currently in critical condition from sepsis, She’s only 28 went to a local hospital for flu like symptoms they told he she was okay, and to take some cold medicine and was sent home. Her condition worsen and she was soon unable to breath, she went back to the hospital and was admitted for pneumonia. This cause sepsis in her body causing her arms and legs to die. It also killed her kidneys and her lungs. The doctor told my aunt theres not more medicaly they can do to save her and we should start getting her Will and other things ready.

    My beautiful mom had a UTI that was asymptomatic. I talked to her that morning, she took a short nap and woke up confused and unable to communicate. 4 days into her hospitalization she became unresponsive. She was not on any life support and she opened her eyes during the day and sleep at night so we always held hope that she would come back to us. My mom had 6 kids and we all stayed by her side for 7weeks while we watched this terrible infection attack her organs one by one. Minor heart attack, minor stroke, kidney failure, encephalopathy… it was pneumonia that ended up taking her. We had her intubated just long enough for all family to be there. My family will never recover from the trauma of not only the disease but the severe negligence we dealt with throughout her illness. I feel terrible for those with no advocate. We had an army and still experienced so many things that should not have happened and resulted in her death. Something more needs to be done about this. My mom was 71, she left behind 6 kids, 14 grandkids, and 7 great grandkids. She was the purest soul and should not have endured that!

    I am concerned that the medical profession fails to look for infections that can quickly morph into sepsis. I have been shocked to see that signs of infection in the elderly are dismissed because of their age. Not all elders are suffering from dementia. I am also concerned that there is a trend to not actually physically examine a patient anymore. So many infections can be physically seen. The elderly often do not display the extreme signs that someone younger shows. Their white count may be slow to react and they may have a low grade fever. And all this while the infection is rapidly progressing in their body. The most prominent symptoms may be only mental confusion and weakness. In the case of our family member, we actually had to find the sign of the infection while our loved one was in the hospital for 4 days and we were being told that she was suffering from sudden dementia and should be placed into hospice. Within 12 hours of receiving the IV antibiotic, she was completely lucid again. Can you imagine how many nurses and doctors had rotated through that room and the family had to spot the infection? What was that? Was it lack of training on their part? Was it an unconscious prejudice against the elderly? I remember the ER doctor lecturing us early on that society cannot afford to care for the elderly anymore. To say that I have lost faith in the medical profession is an understatement. I also have noticed that too many ER doctors are aggravated with the increase of elder problems showing up in THEIR ER. I believe that many cases of elder sepsis can be avoided if there is at least one ER doctor on shift that is trained in gerontology. The population is aging and the medical profession needs to make the necessary adjustments. We were extremely lucky. My advice to other families is to not be afraid to educate yourself and ask lots of questions. Stop worrying that you will offend the medical staff. As long as you are polite, you can be persistent. Trust your intuition and do not underestimate your personal knowledge of your loved ones usual level of cognitive and physical health. Time is of the essence in all infections, but most especially so with sepsis. Thank you to all who have contributed to this website. It was invaluable to us. Tell others.

    My mother is currently in critical condition with septic shock. No one had a clue anything was wrong until no one had heard from her in 4 days. She was found unresponsive. They did cpr. Used the paddles and brought her back. She is still unconscious with a breathing tube. They are giving her large quantities of heart meds to raise her blood pressure without those she would be gone. It is so difficult to watch. Im lost. The doctors s@y we need to decide if we will take her off the ventilator or not. I know what she would want but i dont know if i can do it. If anyone has advice i will surely take it. Thank you

    On April 9 2018 my beautiful mother fainted and cut her head, got stitched up at the local hospital and was sent home. The next day she became very ill and was rushed to the ER where she was barely treated for suspected concussion. She had invasive group A strep and sepsis had already begun to take her from us, and the doctors missed all of the telltale signs. She continued to decline in general hospital ward for 2 days until she crashed and they finally realized she had sepsis. She went into shock and then lay sedated for 1 week in ICU while her body died one limb at a time. We removed her supports when we were told that she we would require full amputation of her arms and legs. She was my best friend and she deserved, as we all do, to enjoy her retirement, her wonderful marriage, her grand babies. If doctors would have stopped long enough to pay attention and follow protocols, she would have gotten what she deserved.

    My wife was cleaning pus pockets out of her throat evidently she scratched her throat and got streptococcus in her bloodstream. The strep infection caused DIC which sent her into septic shock and she died in 20 hours. She was the love of my life.

    My wife was 42 years old the healthiest person in our whole family she was cleaning pus pockets out of her throat with a Q-tip. Evidently she scratched her throat with the Q-tip got streptococcus in her bloodstream which turn to DIC and caused her to go into septic shock she died in 20 hours. She was the love of my life.

    My mom and last parent is currently battling sepsis and went through a terrible time during the past 5 years. She was unfortunate to get breast cancer 5 years ago and had a small tumor removed. It was very early stage and after the surgery she got chemo and hormone therapy, which utterly ruined her life. She was so happy and full of energy all the time up the point after she had chemo and Hormon therapy. She could no longer work and got depressed because her immune system was bad and she had such uncertainties about how well she would fell. Days she would be okay and others she would be completely drained from energy and not be able to get out of bed. It soon spiraled into a depression and she got anxiety. Here in Denmark she went to tremendous efforts demanding by the government over a period of 4 years to asses her ability to work in order for her to get a pension and she had been pushed around in between so many councils, job try outs and meetings where she was just about to reach the end and could finally relax and not worry about anything more in her life since she was qualified for early retirement.

    But here in November her stomach problems took a turn for the worse. She had gone to her doctors so many times during the past 2 years which bad digestion, bad stomach issues and explained how tired she was. Each time she was sent home and told it was just because she was stressed and she should rest and meditate.

    Late December she went to the hospital herself because of severe stomach pain and was put in the hospital because one of her kidneys had failed. During this she was still complaining about stomach pains and demanded to be throughly checked for it, but the doctors ignored her. Her kidney had failed because her urine pathway was blocked and they suspected a cancer in the ureter, but didn’t find anything so the conclusion was it was blocked by some external pressure. Then she got and CT scan and they started to suspect her to have uterus cancer because they were enlarged. It should be menthioned she was sent home each individual time and this went on for nearly a whole month.
    She then went for a PET scan the 17th of January where I am today been let known by the doctors, that she had late stages cancer in all of her abdomen and intestines. This was knowledges they already had by then without telling us a single thing about it.

    On the 28th she finally got an appointment for a endoscopic examination bit had begun to severely vomit in the days leading up to this and on the night up to where should be taking her medicine to prepare her for the examination she couldn’t hold it down and threw it all up. She still went to the examination and they tried to do the examination but couldn’t and just simply sent her back home. Luckily I was home and by the time she was home she had already thrown up on the way home and again at home. Her belly was severely inflated and she was in severe pain. She then threw up and I could smell her vomit smelled of feces so I immediately called 911 and had her brought to the hospital. Hours go by in the hospital and she was just given some pain meditation and doctors sitting with her and talking about her symptoms.

    Doctors were calm and I got sent home with nothing to worry about. We still haven’t heard the latest news about her late Stege cancer or anything about her stomach. They still didn’t know what was wrong.
    After 6 hours in the hospital I get a TEXT message from my mom they she had to go into acute surgery and that was so far the last thing my mom said to me. She had for the past few days been fighting the septic shock she had gone into and is still fighting. Doctors told me she was not likely to survive the night but luckily she is strong and have been so since the operation and fighting the sepsis.

    But even though she fights and wakes from the septic chock doctors can’t do anything more about the cancer in her abdomen.
    I am so devastier by the horrible treatment my mom had received and how unserious she had been taken all the time. Even letting her going through an endoscopic examination while knowing her insides probably were very bad. (Doctors told me the reason they couldn’t operate anymore or help her more was because the intestines were so fragile) It is unimaginable for me to understand how no precautions were made or any observation for they matter was given her while the doctors had this information before hand.

    My mom is now destined to die from cancer but could have been spared from going through and fighting septic shock. And I could have had some final good moments with her and tell her how much I love her. But these rights were taken away from her because of ignorance and incompetence from the doctors who treated her. I wonder if her mental state and depression from her journal made the doctors take her less seriously. She was not in any way mentally ill but simply exhausted and filled with anxiety and depression from the long frustration and bad treatments she had received. But I felt this too from the doctors that this weighted in their judgement and the history of “stress” was the culprit for her symptoms. We know why this was not stress and I am so angry that such ignorance is still going on.

    I have now just turned 28 and lost my farther in my hands from a heart attack at the age of 18 without saying goodbye and now I am about to loose my mother the same way. Life is so unfair sometimes and you really need to be your own doctor these days. You need to demand all kinds of tests and bloodwork done and don’t take no for an answer. Even if your doctors tells you that your not sick and you still feel sick, demand more test and do your own research about your illness.

    My step-dad who has been a part of my family for 41 years and a loving grandfather to my children died 2 days ago due to septic shock. He was in the hospital for appox, 5 weeks. The sepsis caused heart damage, kidney failure, and finally a cardiac arrest that took him from us. There is information on Dr. Google about sepsis, and I learned more from that than the doctors revealed to us. I wish they didn’t give us false hope about his condition, no mention of palliative care or hospice. My heart is broken, I can’t believe he’s gone, the last 5 weeks have been a nightmare I can’t wake from from,. May God bless those affected by sepsis.

    My mom has had sepsis twice. This second time was the worse. She was in the icu and intubated for 4 days. She got cellulitis again, but not as bad. This is what had led to the recent sepsis right before thanksgiving. She has had trouble bathing. I think this led to bacterial germs not getting washed away.

    Now today, I can see she’s dealing with short term memory loss. I’m in the beginning stages of getting this fully diagnosed with medical professionals.

    Depression and substance abuse led to lack of bathing. Overweight and probably other factors led to cellulitis and now sepsis twice with memory issues. Trusting God.

    My mother was alcoholic and addicted to prescription meds. By age 56, in 2000, she got sepsis, then septic shock. Her body turned dark green and eyes became yellow in the ICU. They told us we had to take her off life support bcz her insides were turning into pudding, liquid and running out of time.

    My mother died of Septic shock December 2, 2018. A little over a month ago was the one year anniversary of her death. It was devastating for me! We were invited to go to Lima Peru for a Bible Convention for 11 days. Mom was so excited as I was cause we never had been out of the country before. Two days before we were supposed to come back, she fell sick and was rushed to ICU. She was in ICU for 7 days and died. The infection had reached her brain already. I had to have her cremated before I could return home. I had to go to the embassy there and prove I was her daughter to even do that. None of my family could come be with us because they did not have passports. 13 hour flight there and back. No one knew she was sick. I had taken her to the doctor a few times before we left cause she was complaining of no energy and she did go to the hospital thinking she was having a heart attract a couple months before our trip. No one did any extensive looking, blood work to check. If they had of, she would still be here today. She was my mom and best friend. My life is not the same without her. I miss her so much! She was 75 years old.

    My beautiful, sharp as a tack Mom survived sepsis this month but now has some serious dementia going on which I know in my heart is a direct result of the sepsis. My heart is broken… I know I have to get into acceptance but its difficult and painful.

    My mother became septic October 23. Was hospitalized for 2 months and now in a rehabilitation facility. What a roller coaster she and the family has gone through and still dealing with. I just don’t understand why the treatment for sepsis is still so lacking. Intensive nutritional theory and a fecal transplant should be studied to help support sepsis survivors. She has had stomach problems and on going blood in her stool. She’s still alive, thankfully but I’m just so scared this could still take her like so many other’s after hospitalization.

    I am watching my grandmother take her last few breaths as I type this, and she has a very similar story. She had a blood clot in her femoral artery surgically removed early September 2019. 2 weeks later she was fighting for her life due to septic shock. She beat it! She went to rehab and we thought that she won the battle. Then late November, she was back in the hospital due to infection and an aneurysm in the same spot. They didn’t want to operate until the infection cleared, but three days later, the aneurysm ruptured and she had emergency surgery to repair the artery. She made it thru the surgery but was never the same. Acute delirium cause her not to eat. A month later the incision started bleeding out and her heart stopped. 1 week later, after 2 strokes, no blood flow to her left leg, Gangrene took over, we weaned her off of life support and she is now dying. Just before the wound started to bleed out, I smelled something foul on her feet. I told the nurse, and she just washed her feet. I believe the infection was back, and even though they changed her wound dressing 3 times a week, no one noticed.

    The story saddens me I didn’t know anything about sepsis until, 12-14-19 when my mother unexpectedly pass away from it. My grandma was in the hospital for 3 weeks had a AAA and we visited everyday. On Friday 13th my mom didn’t come she said she had the runs. 24hrs later she passed away of sepsis shock. I’m so lost and confused to how this could have happened. It saddens me deeply and I want answers. RIP Mama

    Hello everyone. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the at the end of June 2019. She had surgery August 1st then started chemotherapy a month later. She did chemo for 3 months, going in and out of the hospital the whole time. 4 days before Halloween she went in to the hospital with severe pain, fever, confusion and a host of other problems. Halloween day she died of septic shock. Everything spiraled out of control, before we knew it she had slipped away. This has been the hardest thing on me and my family. My mother was our family’s matriarch. Septic shock is a terrible awful thing!! And very preventable! The hospital did nothing but help her die! I miss her so much everyday! Please watch for the signs and symptoms of this! No one should die of sepsis!

    My father died of Septic Shock last Sunday, December 8. I am so devastated and still do not know how to cope up losing the person I spent time with the longest time. I do not know how to go on through the remaining half of my life with only memories of him. I want his physical presence and longing to hear his voice again.

    I just lost my mother today from sepsis
    She fell down in bedroom and hit the floor. She did not know where she was and refuses to allow my father to pick her up.
    We had to call the EMS and some firemen picked her up on Thanksgiving morning. My mom cried in pain.
    The nurses did not seem to tell my father and I that mother had spesis. But I had looked it up on the hospital WIFi.
    My mother had been in the hospital for 4 days.
    On Sunday she finally got out of the hospital. But the paramedics dropped her on my porch.
    Last night my mother told me to take care of myself and tgat she was sick.
    We had some hospice nurses come by to take care of her.
    This morning my mother started having seizures and convulsions.
    She passed away while a nurse. was giving her a sponge bath and washing her hair.
    She had a long battle with fibromyalgia and lupus. It did not help she had two back surgeries. She also had diabetes and had work a spinal stimulator that was k in back nearly 5 years ago.
    It had been a long two years of battling
    my mother. She kept falling down at least 5 or 6 times this past Spring. It was stressful knowing she had fallen while I was at work.
    One time, she fell down on the weekend

    My husband died of Sepsis last month. He had a gash on his leg from bumping into a tree stump while cleaning brush from the backyard. The hospital gave him a tetanus shot and a bandaid and told him not to change the bsndage for a week. His health rapidly began declining. We made 4 more trips to the ER because my husband got so bad he couldn’t walk.
    He began to have trouble breathing. The final trip there he was taken by ambulance where he went into cardiac arrest. He was transported to another hospital 6 hours later. He died that same day. He was not given any antibiotics. Death certificate states that his cause of death was sepsis…which. Could hsve been prevented if the ER would have given him antibiotics in the first place. He had just turned 61 years old and we had falsely believed that we still had a future together. We trusted the medical doctors at the hospital to do the right thing, but they were so much in a hurry to rush people in and out of there that they dropped the ball bigtime and allowed a very vibrant lively patient to slip into death within. A .weeks time . I am sure that if it had been one of their own family members the proper treatment would have been given. WAKE UP Medical Community .

    My wonderful husband passed away on Halloween
    He developed septis three weeks earlier
    They gave him antibiotics and cleared up the infection he came home
    Was placed on hospice care four days later
    Hospice care is wonderful

    My mother wouldn’t allow herself to be bathed and refused any professional help. No amount of coaxing would get her to allow someone to touch her. She said she would clean herself. This went on for many months until she contracted a uti that turned into sepsis. She was secretive about her symptoms until her blood pressure dropped to 20. She passed 10 hours later. My brother and I have dealt with the guilt of being on watch when this all happened. We didn’t know the signs of sepsis. We also have PTSD but could we have prevented this?

    My mother passed away yesterday due to this awful flesh eating disease! Had the hospital she was in for almost 3 weeks paid attention & listened to all the doctors my mom would still be alive today!! I had to watch my mom literally suffer a awesome gruesome death which broke my ❤ in half:(Please I beg every family if you even have the slightest hint your loved 1 has it seek help immediately never take no for a answer!!)

    My mother is currently fighting for her life in the hospital right now. In October she had a major back surgery. After multiple attempts to go be seen from excruciating pain she was still in after surgery they kept brushing her away saying the pain is normal. Saturday 11/16 she passed out going to the bathroom and she has been fighting since in icu. They found a rather large abscess near her surgery site. She has not be able to wake up after being off of sedation for some time now and she is on a wound vac with a jp drain as well.

    I developed sepsis as a result of aspiration pneumonia, which I did not know I had. Thought it was a bad, long-lasting case of the flu. Became very tired, unable to eat or drink and slept all the time. Could bately speak. A friend told me to get to the hospital NOW. Another friend called 911. I flat-lined in the ER and spent 3 weeks in a coma. After finally coming to conciousness, I began physical rehab for 4 weeks. I still have physical problems with walking, balance & motor coordination. It took me over a year before I could take one step without assistance and a whole year to fully reclaim my mental acuity. I still have to use a walker.
    This all could have been avoided had I gone to the doctor after just one week of feeling bad. Now, my body will never be the same.

    May every mother be safe from sepsis, pain management and other diseases. It honestly sinks my heart knowing about your loss. May God gift her with the best place in heaven.

    I have had 4 hospitalizations for sepsis in the last seven months. I don’t have kidney or liver disease, any clotting disorders or cancer, so basically none of the big risk factors. Today I (finally) learned that sepsis causes immune suppression for years after infection, that the clock for recovering from the immune suppression resets every time sepsis recurs, and that the ED and ICU staff are expecting to continue to admit and treat me until sepsis wins, which statistically probably isn’t far off. It’s a very odd future to be looking at for myself.

    I just lost the greatest man a son could ever ask for. Even though we didn’t share the same blood. He raised me and was my father. I took him in to the ER one night for a swollen abdomen. the doctors found a mass causing a complete bowel obstruction. He needed emergency surgery to relive the pressure while they figured out what to do with the mass. The emergency surgery had to be held back hours because he was having a diabetic crisis. When he was ready for the surgery he was taken in but due to the electrolyte imbalance they had to be quick. The next day when he was more stable he was intervened for a second time to examine his bowel and asses the damage done by the stretching. Apparently his bowel had already torn and 80 percent of his colon had to be removed. And his entire abdominal cavity thoroughly cleaned. He was started on antibiotics and a few days later was on the route to recovery. A few days passed and the efforts to wean him off the ventilator started but kept failing. Suddenly his hands and Feet started to swell. Even though I made sure the nurse at the time knew she simply said “it’s probably cause he’s laying down”. But she couldn’t have been more wrong. Soon after things took a steep dive. His pressure required vasopressors, his kidneys started to shut down and he was getting constant blood work ups and cultures in an effort to find out what was going on. Never did any doctor come to us and say he has sepsis or his organs are shutting down due to infection. If it weren’t because I kept bothering nurses and asking. Was when one of them told me that he was septic and that they still had no idea where the infection was. My godfather was started on dialysis for kidney failure. According to doctors his liver had end-stage cirrhosis even though a month prior an er doctor told me his liver looked fine. But now his inability to maintain blood pressure without excessive amounts of vasopressors, CRRT, and a Ventilator after all the my godfather had gone through the doctors gave us absolutely no hope from the start. One doctor had the nerve to tell us”you either let him suffer or you let him die”. I stayed every single night at the hospital after that day the last day I saw him awake was a Saturday night. I came to his ICU room and was sent off because the doctors were doing an ultrasound of his heart. The next morning I went to see him and he was doing seizure like movements with his arms , head and and face. The doctors had no idea what was going on. After weeks of continuing treatment and the doctors constantly reminding us that our efforts and theirs were in vane. The doctors finally told us that the vasopressors he was on was cutting circulation to his extremities and that with the high doses he was getting that it wouldn’t be long before his hands and feet became necrotic and they suspected that the circulation to his Brain was very low and that was the cause for his “seizure” and no responsiveness. After doing some research and his continued non-response and constant jerking. We decided to let him rest before those vasopressors destroyed his body further. He left this world and left a huge empty space in all our hearts and people of his church. I’m never going to forget the day the man that raised me and took care of me stopped living. in the end sepsis knocked my godfather unconscious but the deadly vasopressors destroyed any hope of survival.

    We are experiencing this now. my dad is alive but apidly deckining…dame story. Can yiu suggest anthing to save him if you did it over?

    My mother died Oct 19th 2019. Sepsis leading quickly to septic shock we arrived at the er at 843 pm the 18th she was put immediately on a vent. Blood pressure would not come up when i walked in that night she looked me in the eyes. Trying to say some thing but could not she was restrained. She coded around 334 am brought her back. Dr told me as i sat alone with my last parent i had a decision to make either prolong her suffering or mine. Or let it end. I decided to take the vent out. She blew out never tried to breath. She is gone and i had no warning. Sepsis awareness needs to become a new movement across america. I sure do miss her PTSD is bad for the ones left behind. Turning that vent off ruined me forever.

    My husband at 49 years old had a stroke which caused left side partial paralysis it then ended up causing end stage renal failure and was on hemo dialysis 3 days a week . About 2 months ago he went to the dentist for a root canal, a month later he had come down with blood infection that spread to his heart valve he had fluid around his heart and in his lungs they put a picc line in released him from the hospital to come home before surgery to replace heart valve, he died a week later. He was 54. Is the dentist responsible?! He should have been put on antibiotics 3 days prior to the procedure! The dentist should have known what to do to prevent this! Do I have any recourse?!

    My independent, positive and pretty healthy 83 year old dad went into the hospital in March to have a heart valve replaced, little did I know how this was going to end 7 weeks later. A week and a half after surgery his wound became infected with gangrene and he had some fluid in his lungs. He went under twice to “clean him out” of the dead tissue in his chest wall and 2 bronchoscopies to clear out the fluid. On April 10th he had to have major surgery because the gangrene had ate his tissue and muscle up so bad that they had to cut him open, or should I say filet, and pull his abdominal muscles up and his pec muscles over to cover what was gone and an artery bypass. He was still on antibiotics and when I spoke to his nurse after this surgery she reassured me since he had antibiotics at that time that he shouldn’t get another infection. 2 days later he had VRE/superbug. My dad went from confused to absolutely delirious, you would swore he was a mental patient. Screaming all night, boxing in mid air, pulling his feeding tube out and mumbling all day, he just wasn’t “there”. I didn’t understand why his mental state was like it was and the doctors would keep saying it was ICU delirium, malnutrition and the pain meds. I was told he was “headed in the right direction, lets heal his body first then his mind”. Then they transferred him to an independent extended ICU hospital not affiliated with them where the staff was upfront with me and told me that it wasn’t from ICU delirium or any of what the doctors had been telling me, that the infection had gone into his brain. He was weak and unable to eat because he was aspirating/fluids going to his lungs. The feeding tube couldn’t stay in him but for a few more days and if he couldn’t eat on his own that he would have to be sent back to the hospital for the feeding tube to be surgically put into his stomach and all we would be doing was sustaining his life and he’d go to a nursing home. My dad made it clear to everyone that he never wanted to go to a nursing home so we made the choice to take the feeding tube and send to hospice where he passed 5 days later. While at the ICU hospital he was no longer screaming but was incoherent most of the time, he would mumble something every once in a while that made sense, like he was “there” for just a few seconds and gone again. I NEVER once had anyone tell me his brain was doing what it was due to sepsis until I got his medical records and did my research. My dad went through hell mentally and physically and it breaks my heart because he didn’t deserve to have his ending like he did and it makes me more mad when I read that VRE is usually from the hospital. I can understand why anyone has PTSD from watching someone you love go through what they have with VRE and sepsis, things I saw go through my head every single day and has caused me to be very depressed. I have a lot of regrets because I trusted these doctors and I shouldn’t have.

    My wife died of sepsis this year. This (sepsis) was diagnosed after spending some time in a hospital and send home. When she got here the next day she was very ill we call 911 they took her to another hospital. Where we were told she had sepsis. But it’s more than that I tried to get a lawyer but so far they are turning me down. I am asking you for help in perhaps someone in this forum knows of lawyers that handle this. I’m losing my mind not understanding what really happened to her.

    I am so sorry for all of your losses from this horrible disease, I lost my husband of 33 years last Dec 27th 2018 from Septis, he was diagnosed the April before with acute congestive heart failure at 57 years of age, after seeing heart doctor and prescribed 6 different heart medications he was feeling better and had gone back to work, over the next few months his appetite declined he was losing weight and could barely walk from the car to the house which was like 15 feet away, heart doctor told him to slow his activities and his work load down and continue to Take the heart medications, he had no blockages and was never over weight, was a smoker for 40 years but always strong and picture of health, and then n April he swelled up everywhere on his body within 2 days he look like he put on 30 pounds that is when I took him to the ER, we honestly thought that he may of ate something that he was allergic to and the body swelling was a reaction he was having but no it was not that he had advanced acute heart failure was in the hospital for a little over a week until he was able to come home, over the next few months he did find but just tire a lot quicker then fast forward to Sept his appitite declined and he lost 30 pounds by Oct and could barely walk around and felt sick so back in the hospital in Nov for almost two weeks, once he was home he felt better started eating normal and went back to his job, fast forward to Dec 24 and he told me his calf and foot were swollen, and he was having a hard time breathing , so I drove him to ER and they told us he had cellucellulitis in his leg and that they needed to admit him to get it treated, next day one of the Dr came in and told me he was septic had septic shock and he was dying and proceeded to say that she was surprised he had not passed yet, I was in complete shock and had no idea what she was saying, she spoke to me as if I was already aware, I just broke down in disbelief, then she said as I am bawling and still have not been able to get the questions out that I wanted answers to she tells me his organs were shutting down and that he needed to be put in hospice because there was nothing more they could do for him, he passed 2 days later, honestly I still believe I am in shock and dis belief of the whole heartbreaking gut wrenching situation, and very angry with the Dr s I believe they could of treated him but for some reason they did not, I miss my guy terribly every single day!! I feel for all of us who have lost our loved ones and are angry because of the way Dr do not explain like they should, I wish I would of had an advocate for sure

    Hi All
    We lost our Mum after she had a fall and she had a hip repair.
    Then went into Rehab whilst there she had a UTI infection 2 weeks later she had another.
    With a fever then she did not want to have a shower this day and lashed out with her leg which was caught on the bed and blood now on the bed and floor they patched it up daily
    So after doing her bloods again 2 weeks later e coli in the blood also she had Sepsis. Mum did not want to eat or drink. They found her kidneys were failing reading down to 7
    Mum had turned 93 then on 23rd September 2019 Mum passed my brother and l were with her. 7 weeks after her operation so quick so silently she was taken sepsis not good l tell everyone l see as well.
    Take care

    My sister has aspiration pneumonia and is currently in ICU for 4 weeks now. She also suffered from sepsis but now is cured from sepsis, except she is suffering from aspiration pneumonia. She cannot breathe on her own. Doctors put her on heavy sedation propofol because of setbacks from the trache placed on her neck and a broncoscopy done the same day. She woke up with puffy all over and with fluid in her lungs. They tried to wean her off propofol but she did not wake up. Her eyes rolled and she is not responsive. I’m scared for my sister. Any similar experiences with recovery?

    my mother died of septic shock due to an undetected UTI which spread to her bladder and kidneys. She was suddenly very listless, almost unable to sit up in her wheelchair. I called the paramedics and she was admitted to the hospital and dead in 48 hours. When I was in the emergency room with her, I felt they were triaging her to the bottom row because of her age of 89 years old. I never want to repeat the anguish I felt trying to get the hospital staff to administer to her. Fortunately I demanded she be kept free from pain when the antibiotics weren’t working and her kidneys were failing from the infection. Pain medicine for the dying is so important. She just died in her sleep 6 hours after she told me to stop treatment. very peaceful after being in pain and feeling horribly ill.

    With all of these horror stories of sepsis on this CDC site, many to appear to be caused by hospital neglect, is the CDC paying attention and doing more to educate the medical community? It seems like only financial punishment would wake up the medical industry to try to eradicate sepsis. I am currently sitting in a hospital room with my mother, watching my father who is hooked to life support, as she feverishly tries to convince herself that he will pull through though the doctors have said his kidneys are failing. At 84 years old he was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. Instead of offering palliative care the oncologist and radiologist pushed treatment which my dad felt was a sales pitch so they could buy new cars. I think he was right. 8 weeks after beginning his treatment he’s now on his death bed. He complained about the feeding tube they installed so after weeks of us showing hospital staff the horrible discharge and parts falling off everyone said it was ok. After begging for a test and them finally doing it they replaced the peg tube because of misplacement. Now they can’t answer if the misplacement of the tube and the klebsiella bacteria infecting it caused my father’s aspiration pneumonia which caused his sepsis. Also many times I had to ask the nurses to clean his feeding tube entrance site and it took awhile before they agreed to culture it. But they keep saying it had nothing to do with the feeding tube. They say it was from not being able to cough. And almost blaming us for having him drink his nutritional supplement or anything my mouth when it was their nurses that told us everything had to be nectar thick, which is why we purchased and used food thickener. To make matters worse he was in this hospital 2 weeks prior to this deadly hospital visit with aspiration pneumonia and they sent him home without any antibiotic treatment. I am so confused. So as my poor mother cries over her husband of 65 years contemplating whether or not to pull the plug, we are left without answers. Watching him be medically tortured for the past 3 weeks has been the most horrendous experience of our lives. God bless everyone with similar hospital experiences.

    Wow these stories are all to famaliar my grandma is 90 years old up until about 2 months ago she was very healthy only on blood pressure med ,hyroid ,and prozac due to losing 4 out of 5 kids but she is very independent the sweetest angle on earth always has been a great soul to any and everyone never smoked any no drugs or alcohol and she was going to her doc regularly so she was at my aunt’s house and she told them call 911 and when I got to hospital and saw her not even able to hold herself up I really couldn’t believe my eyes ok so I know they see a 90 yr old and of course they do not understand that’s not my gma my gma can walk dress herself read a book fix herself something to eat and anything else she desires so after the testing the said uti,blood count was not good ,and her heart hmmmm really well uti yes a very very bad thing and they began more test of her heart told us that. She has afib and upper respritory infection she had a really bad cough also so after being there for a week of crap instead of putting fluids and antibiotic in her intervainslly for the 7 days they did more heart test so they found out no stints needed no heart surgery needed just a med to control the beat pattern great so she gets discharged with home health and when they were at our house their reading the discharge papers and says she has acute kidney failure I said what no I read those papers a 1000x and it does not he said acute renal failure is kidney and nobody but nobody said anything about her kidneys then 7 days later she’s rushed back to er and this time sent back home 3 hours later told later that she had a partially colasped lung by a diff home health nurse I’m furious so I rate that it wasn’t funny and then I’m gonna say 3 days after that boom back to er except this time they had yo talks her straight to icu she was in severe septic shock syndrome and phnemonia I’m like omg ok first of all medical history and common sense play a big part here which obviously no one has anymore and it they do not read medical history if they did then there common sense would have kicked in so after all if this she went into rehab for 20 days and sent home guess what her urine smelled so so so bad like so bad I was floored and finally after getting her urine tested yes still had a uti and antibiotics were given again so then her heart doc now has her on lasix for i know 30 or more days well needless to say back to the er we went. With dangerously low pottisaum levels and dehydration so the er doc took her off that one and put her on a better one that controls all the other things lasix take out and well we went to her appt on the 17th and she got really bad lightheaded dizzy felt like passing out and nausea well she hasn’t been able to walk since the first time she went in over 2 m on ago but now she’s passing out can’t sit up or anything I don’t know what to do the doc seem ignorant or they just don’t care because she’s 90 but to me this is my grandma my kids greatgrandma our life or everything and we don’t want her to die especially when all they really had to do was there job if they would have looked at her med history maybe something would have clicked and duh maybe her body is shutting down because of the uti has turned into sepis or wait maybe the cough actually was phnemonia that went to sepis she wouldn’t have been in icu and in severe septic shock I wish somehow something could be done oh yea she has had hypklemia which is from lasix no potassium from them boom see if they would have read her history they may have been able to stop all of this uncessary damage to her body and health prayers go out to all of y’all my heart and prayers

    I just lost my mother 7 months ago from sepsis. She had all of the symptoms, and the infection was Ecoli. Her body became to weak and fragile to fight off the infections and her body was breaking down. It went from a follow-up with her PCP to admission into the hospital, she passed four days after being admitted. One of the worst days of my life. I heard of sepsis, but didn’t know too much about it until she was diagnosed with it. So, I did research on it. Now, I’m fully aware and educated on the infection and I tell others about it.

    August 30. My 60 year old twin brother had been battling bladder cancer that was responding well to the treatments. He was unfortunately a heavy drinker, which was the main problem. He went into the hospital very weak after vomiting and passing blood and had not eaten for several days. He was too weak to stand on his own but he was lucid and talking. As soon as he got into the ER they hit him with the “alcohol withdrawal protocol” which was a dose of Ativan. His blood draw showed a severe case of malnutrition and hemoglobin so low that he was borderline transfusion. Then they did a CT scan and the results were fatty liver. Then they did an endoscopy which showed that his stomach lining was eroded from alcohol and that was causing the bleeding. All of this and he seemed to be rallying within 2 days, sitting up in the chair in his room and wanting to go home. Then came the fever and infection. They blamed it on liver failure but he began to swell and retain fluid and his heart rate went up to around 140 bpm and stayed there. Everything went downhill from there and as I was frantic and very upset at his condition, they kept telling me that the underlying issue was liver failure and they couldn’t fix that. They said he had a UTI and was septic and he was getting several antibiotics. He developed fluid in his abdomen, around his lungs, and heart. He developed pneumonia. It was awful . He continued to decline and 11 days after he went to the ER he passed away. I am devastated. The worst part is that his death certificate lists the cause of death as Sepsis. Sepsis. It is painful to think about him when he went into the hospital being talkative, but malnourished and weak. I believe that he could have recovered with better care and sanitary conditions. I also think that they pegged him as an alcoholic and that affected his level of care. The entire affair has been devastating.

    My grandad had a full blood count test 2 weeks ago, they said his infection levels were 99 and should be 6. No further action was taken immediately other than a hospital appointment for 2 weeks time. The day of his hospital appointment came, he suddenly deteriorated & went into cardiac arrest, I performed CPR whilst waiting for the paramedics to arrive & they continued for over an hour. They mentioned sepsis & we are now waiting for a post mortem to confirm the cause of death. He had the signs of sepsis, but it’s just so heartbreaking to know that if it was it somehow may have been prevented had they picked it up sooner. Why did he have an infection level so high, he also had a huge scud on his head that was visibly infected & was just left for 2 weeks until then it was only to late.

    My grandma died from sepsis she was throwing up and shivering when i was calling for an ambulance. The blood infection most likely came from dialysis where there seemed to had a very bad infection in her left arm. She was in ICU for two weeks and left it after being clear of sepsis. Only after a week in she suddenly died she couldn’t make the full recovery. It was a weird feeling she looked fine the day before i called the ER she was laughing and smiling.

    We just lost our Aunt, just 73 to septic shock on Aug.28th, 2019 and I feel angry and upset. She’d been feeling bad for 3 weeks. Even went to her Dr. who gave her a shot of cortisone in her thumb for arthritis ! Finally going to an er on Monday night, they flew her to Cleveland Clinic. She was septic. She died Wednesday night. Now I read they could have at least tried ecmo on her. But you know, she’s 73 so to them that’s old and they just let her die. We are so sad! Be careful! Sepsis you can’t mess around with. Like another person said in comments, have an advocate for yourself! Hospitals are horrible these days!

    My sister is fighting for her life right now, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through. It’s like a bad roller coaster ride. It’s been 3 days and she is still fighting. I feel the pain from each and everyone who lost a love one, god bless you all.

    My Mom died from cardiac arrest which was caused by septic shock Jan.19,2019. I feel guilty because I was her advocate and didn’t push the issues and demand tests be done. The doctors never listen to the families when we tell them this isn’t normal or she’s doing this. She was 82 and I believe because of her other underlying conditions they didn’t care or do all that was possible quick enough. So families, demand tests and make the doctor show you lab results. You are nothing to them but EVERYTHING to your family! Love you Mom I’m sorry.

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Page last reviewed: September 28, 2020
Page last updated: September 28, 2020