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My Story: When the Signs of Sepsis are Missed

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

Amy Widener
Amy Widener

Guest Author: Amy Widener
Sepsis survivor

March 13, 2013, my body went into septic shock.

January 12, 2013, I ran the Disney half marathon. At 38, I was in the best shape of my life. One week later I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain. I made my way to the bathroom floor with intense abdominal pain that took my breath away. My husband rushed me to the ER where a cat-scan revealed a kink in my intestines. No real explanation was given, but the solution was emergency surgery to cut out the blocked part of the intestines and put me back together. When I awoke from surgery, the report was that all went well. I was discharged from the hospital 10 days later when my bowels ‘woke up’ from surgery and all systems seemed to be functioning.

In hindsight, what happened over the next several weeks should have been our alert. The pain after this surgery grew worse instead of better. In just under 6 weeks I lost 22 pounds. I had chills and extreme pain after I ate and often ran a low grade fever. My doctor dismissed my complaints and told me it would take more time for my intestines to heal. I had no energy to argue.

I knew in my gut – literally and physically – that something was very wrong. I missed my daughter’s birthday party after spending the night before in the ER when the pain was so intense only to be sent home with a strong course of antibiotics and told I must have some colitis as a result of the surgery. Three days later my body could take no more. No food or liquid would stay down and I found myself back in the ER. This time I knew I was not going home with antibiotics.

I was too sick to ingest the barium required for a CAT scan, so the attending physician ordered an abdominal x-ray. This revealed what they diagnosed as a small bowel obstruction, likely caused by the surgery. I was admitted to the hospital and placed on NPO – nothing by food or mouth. The doctor on call raised the concern that I was malnourished and needed to have supplemental nutrition immediately. A PICC line was inserted into my arm and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) began. The doctor’s orders were to wait and hope that the bowel obstruction would resolve on its own.

As I sat in my hospital bed those next few days, my belly began to swell. The nausea could no longer be contained and a nasogastric intubation (NG) tube had to be inserted to remove pressure and bile from my stomach. By day 5, my abdomen was so distended that I looked like I was in my third trimester. I was weak and in pain. The doses of morphine did nothing. Finally, a test was ordered. The radiologist recommend further study as something was not right, but my doctor declined. The nurses were helpless. That evening my vitals told the story. My heart rate fluctuated between 150-160 bpm, my blood pressure rapidly dropped. Nurses called the doctor when my BP hit 89/53. By 6 AM on March 13, my BP had dipped to 63/51, and I was finally transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU).

The ICU doctors pushed for surgery ASAP, because they did not think I could survive. This is the last thing that I remember until I woke up on April 5, 24 days later.

What my family learned from the ICU team was that my body was in septic shock. The clues were there; we just didn’t know how to recognize them. My family never left my side. They took turns holding my hands while a ventilator pushed air in and out of my lungs, and my body swelled from the flood of fluids and antibiotics.

At the point when my organs were shutting down, and the team had performed every medical intervention that they could, my husband was called at 4 AM and told to get to the hospital as quickly as he could. When he arrived he was told that there was nothing else that could be done and that when the last bag of fluid ran out, my heart would likely stop beating. Thankfully it did not quit. I defied the odds.

We understand now that my Disney half marathon training is what prepared my heart for the real life marathon I was to endure. It took a new medical team, two additional surgeries, another full year of supplemental IV nutrition, countless hours of physical therapy and sheer determination to get me where I am today.

I am lucky to be alive, and thriving, and grateful for the ICU team that saved my life, but reminded that more has to be done to educate families, nurses, and doctors to recognize the early signs of sepsis so that patients do not have to suffer what I did.

Amy Widener, is a real estate consultant, mother of two and sepsis survivor

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

72 comments on “My Story: When the Signs of Sepsis are Missed”

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    My mother awoke on July 3 during the middle of the night with excruciating pain, while on vacation. I took her to the local ER where they gave her IV ibuprofen and a leg brace, then sent her home. Told her to follow up with orthopedic doctor. The next day, July 4, she was still in pain but thought she would be okay; however, by that night she and my dad had decided to return home to go to the ER but due to traffic and their age they waited until morning. They had a three hour drive and she was in so much pain she was constantly screaming help me. By the time she arrived at the ER her blood pressure was low and oxygen low. She was eventually admitted, had surgery to remove fluid and given IV fluids. She was discharged from the hospital on July 13 to be taken to a rehab. A PICC line was placed in her arm so she could continue to get IV antibiotics. She is also receiving pain meds every four hours and PT daily. It is now July 23 and there is not much improvement. She still cannot put weight on her leg; although she can move her ankle around. There is severe pain in her knee area when the pain meds wear off. Her doctor in the rehab came to see her today and was surprised by the little improvement. She follows-up with the infectious disease doctor tomorrow but I am so worried about her. Any advice? Anyone know of someone having IV antibiotics for three weeks with little improvement?

    My sister died on May 24th of this year 2019. We still don’t know the official cause of death. She was 48 years old and has 3 children under 16. The week prior to her death she was being treated for pneumonia. At her funeral I noticed her distended abdomen. I believe she died of sepsis. She wasn’t a sickly person, I can’t even recall her ever having anything more than pollen allergies before this pneumonia , and she never stopped moving except in the few days before she died. On her last day “she felt better” she died in her sleep at about 2 am that night.

    I also had sepsis. Went to have staples taken out at my doctors off by the nurse. She called the doctor to take them out because it was red around the staples. sent home with no meds. The same night I got very ill. sepsis was coming from both ends mouth and rectum. I was taken to hospital next morning admitted and had to have 3 surgery’s. Of course nothing can be done to the doctor that sent me home with this. It was August 2018. I am let with pain in my stomach, a horrible scare down my stomach, no belly button and still I have a prolapse rectum. This is so painful at times. Please keep in touch with me about this. I am so angry and I cant get it off my mind. How can the doctors get away with what they do. The doctor said a script was called in but it was not. Thanks to whom ever reads this. I just cant get over it. A reminder everyday with pain. My brain will not let me forget it. I was on my death bed not that the doctor cared instead he told not the truth and can get away with it. I still have restrictions because my problem never went away. Thanks for listen.

    I have a UTI that the hospital was not concerned about. I went to the Dr. and found I am septic. I can not say I am a survivor because I only have a 40% chance of surviving.

    I once contacted sepsis after having a surgery and they cut my colon . my blood sugar got down to 39. Went to emergency room and was diagnosed with sepsis spent time in icu thought i was dying this is a very. Scary time for me

    I took my husband to the ER on April 18, 2018. He was having severe abdominal pain, nausea and diahrea. They gave him pain men’s through his arm. Then sent him home with a prescription for 10 antibiotic pills and pills for nausea. Then 2 months later my husband fell on the floor. I did cpr while calling 911. He was gasping for breath for 5 minutes. The doctor in ICU said he had a massive heart attack and he was on life support and they were monitoring his brain, due to him falling on the floor. Then 2 days later, the doctor said his brain was bleeding and we had to take him off life support. Then I got his medical records. In April his records showed he had character is of pancreatitis and they would correlate with lab results. His June records said that he had severe sepsis and septic shock. They covered it up. So I have been to four lawyers and no one will take my case. They said it couldn’t be proved that the doctors were negligent and one lawyer said the case didn’t have enough merit. I am furious that no one will help me! All the lies in his medical records prove that they were negligent. They didn’t bother to do an ultrasound in April and I think he had acute pancreatitis that turned into sepsis and shock.

    I had been suffering with low-level fevers, excessive cold causing goose bumps even at 80 degrees, short of breath, etc. I also thought I had a UTI from my wife who was fighting a series of infections. I had spent a lot of time since early August to around the time this started for me in October at a local hospital, where my wife had major back surgery with complications including several infections of various types.

    I went to the Dr. who prescribed various things for the UTI, but I am not sure it completely went away. I was fatigued, loosing strength, slurring speech, and just feeling awful, but I kept up appearances and also needed to assist my wife on and off for months until her strength returned. I stumbled through the holidays and into December. I still was not feeling well, and went to another doctor who said my blood pressure was too low and that I needed more Vitamin D. He took me off my BP medicines, but by BP shot up with no relief. I went to other doctors who thought is was the flu (with no tests), etc. The the first hospitalization happened. I was at home alone and my wife said I was slurring my speech. A neighbor who I knew for years said I looked bad. I was sweating and stumbling. The neighbor went with me to the hospital and the Dr. thought I was either having a heart attack or stroke. They ran tests, did more blood work and eliminated this as a cause. They even had me do the running heart stress test. At first they wanted to induce the stress with chemicals, but I told them I wanted to do it muscularly and ran on the treadmill to test completion. I was winded for sure, but they still marveled at how well I did — better they said than most men my age would.

    After I night, I took a cab home but knew no more about why I had been so tired. I finally found a doctor who ran a series of blood tests and urine. Everything looked pretty good, so they thought maybe I was allergic to something I ate. I was still weak and felt weaker and more tired every day. Spring was hitting and I was cold outside even on warmer days. I had been sick for four months and everyone’s effort was not helping.

    Then the unbelievable happened. I was home, but still feeling weak and generally sick. I went out and through the ball for our dog and went back in to take a nap — something I rarely did before this sickness hit. When I got up, I headed to the bathroom but didn’t make it. My legs grew weak and I eased myself onto the hall floor. I rested a moment and then realized I couldn’t get up. It was like someone turned on a switch. I became incontinent and my wife called the rescue squad. They assumed I had a stroke or heart attack (sound familiar) and took me to the hospital. The doctors had some preliminary blood work, and started an IV with saline solution.

    I spent the next 10 days in the ICU, getting various antibiotics and more and more IV fluids. They were having me drink constantly and this with the IV was making me urinate many times more frequently than usual, but the doctor told me that kidneys would help flush whatever I had out of my body. By day 3 I was able to stand a little, eat more normally, and sit. By day 5 I was up and could stand and do simple exercises. They continued to try to find my trouble. I was told it “might” be my brain, my spinal cord, my liver, my gall bladder, my kidney’s my intestines, my heart valves, my teeth, any cut or scrap that bleed, and they seemed to test for many of these things.

    Eventually after 7 days, they got an answer to the specific type infection I had, and used a combination of two antibiotics that I completed at home. I left the hospital 10 days after going in and while tired (can you get rest in a hospital? Of course not!) I was feeling better than I have for months. My constant chill was gone. My appetite seemed to be getting better. I was drinking and peeing normally again. And this is where I am now.

    Nobody can explain why I was sick for months on end before the infection flared up. Still, I am going to a specialist in infectious diseases and will be asking the following questions. 1. Is there any signs the infection was not totally cleared up (nobody did any follow up blood work previously, and I would think this is something that should be monitored for some time. 2. Are there any issues with my auto-imune system that might be letting me get sick when others are not. 3. What warning signs should I look at to stop a similar infection before it becomes a sepsis nightmare.

    I feel lucky — I seem to have made it through. I just hope others get good care too.

    I woke up at 3am on Sunday with what I thought was the Flu- constant vomiting, and nausea… was able to make it through the day Sunday ok. 1am Monday morning, it started up again… this time adding high fever and shivering…. passed out a couple of times… Monday at noon, I had my son call my wife, who was able to get me in at the doctor’s office 2 hours later. My Doc was amazing- took 1 look at me, did a quick exam, and had me taken to emergency- he prepped the ER doctor with his suspicions, and made them push me to the front of the triage line… my bp was 71/58. The ER did xrays & a cat scan to determine a bowel blockage (a blood culture they did found E. Coli infection in my bloodstream). My kidneys and liver were in danger of shutting down- they inserted a NG tube, and I was sent by ambulance to the ICU at the main hospital, where I was for the 1st 3 days… 12 liters of fluids later, I was moved to a stepdown unit, and the NG tube removed. It was a bit close to mortality, and the damage to my kidneys pushed me to become a type 2 diabetic. Additionally, I have some cognitive damage- I am finding words difficult to recall and use, and my judgement was somewhat impaired- I am more emotional, and have to take medication for anxiety.
    If not for the excellent care of my family Doc, I honestly believe that I would not be here.

    I am a survivor of Sepsis. I went to work January 20 ,2019 ( I worked nights) and came home Sunday morning on the 21st. I wasn’t feeling well but couldn’t really pin point what was wrong. Later that night I messaged my supervisor and asked if I could come in two hours later. I remember my roomAte coming in their asking if I spoke to my supervisor again. I told her I didn’t know but at that point I didn’t care. I had no energy. Monday night she placed the phone to my ear to talk to my supervisor and I remembering saying..”I don’t know what’s wrong but something is seriously wrong.” January 24,2019 at 3:30 am I was asked my roomAte to help me to the bathroom and my pee looked red (extremely dark) she said when I was talking to her I wasn’t making since. She was worried then something was seriously wrong. She came back in a couple hours later and I was just laying in my vomit. She calls 911 and they rushed me to local hospital and they said I was septic . They placed me on a ventilator and an induced coma. The careflighted me to another more advanced hospital. My body was Sepsis and I had 1slighly large stroke and 7 mini strokes as well. I’m so thankful for the medical team and my family that helped me survive. If my roommate would have waited til morning the doctor said I would not have made it. I had all the same signs just about so please be aware it’s very serious.

    I’m a surviver of sepsis. I have been out of hospital 3 weeks . I have a ovarian abscess that I thought I had a water infection. 3 days rolling in pain at the house til I thought I was going to dye couldn’t breath properly. I was hot on arriving at my local a and e I was 39.6°c and had a heart rate at 180 I was triple my white blood cells I felt so bad when I heard them say the word sepsis…
    I seen things in hospital that werent there. People shouting at me but they weren’t and was snowing outside( it wasn’t). The hospital lights were screaming at me and my heart was pumping out of my chest. 6 days admission . I was out and whent straight to stay with family. I still dont feel myself atall. Tired all day. Can’t sleep at night. Stomack cramps all day and its hell to pass motion ( go to pooh) my bowel just isn’t working properly. So after pelvic inflammitory disease then a tubo ovarian abscuss then sepsis as. a result I’m happy to be here but I’m not in the clear yet. Until I have my ovary drained I will be in pain daily stomack cramps its hell. But sepsis honestly scares the life out of me and I think has changed me as a person

    Back in early March of 2014, I went in for surgery to get my C-section done to have my set of boy/girl twins. Never did I know that I would be setting myself up for failure.
    Not only did they go fishing around in my spine trying to give me a local after I told them I was born with congenital scoliosis and they weren’t going to find my spine, but then they weren’t even able to use it and put this face mask on me to give me anesthesia and gave me too much.
    My heart stopped pumping, my breathing stopped. They ended up having to resuscitate me and deliver the babies and then put two blood transfusions two bags of iron and a bag of platelets into me to keep me alive. They had me so doped up on these medications they were giving to me intravenously that I really don’t remember too much about what exactly went on, but I would say about two weeks after the surgery everything seemed to be getting worse.
    I wasn’t able to keep food down or water, not even crackers. I was disoriented, getting dizzy all the time, confused, not really remembering much of anything and my stomach was starting to swell up like I was pregnant again but I hadn’t had any sexual intercourse to get that way. From the inside I felt like I was growing fire. I kept telling my gynecologist that my stomach felt hot but no matter how many times I tried to tell him all of my symptoms and explain to him I didn’t feel right, he kept blowing me off. He even went so far as to tell me I was being a hypochondriac. Well nevertheless, from the day of my c-section on March 18th 2014 until April 9th 2014, I was filling up with infection and became septic.
    April 9th I woke up in the morning or early afternoon to what I thought was my kids having a dirty diaper and ask for someone to check them. When the response was there isn’t any poop in any of their diapers, it had never dawned on me what else it would have been. I asked my kids’ father to help me get up to go pee. He lifted up the blanket and immediately said oh my God and I was all like what’s wrong? Suddenly he pulls the pillow out of between my knees which puts me in immediate pain I’m screaming at him, asking him why the hell he pulled this out of between my knees, when he completely uncovers the bed from the blanket and we both see the entire bed blankets sheets pillows and all, all the way down through the mattress have done been completely submerged in this dark brown and red nasty worse than a porter potty smelling stuff.
    I’m freaking out, like what the heck is that and my kids’ father goes to lift up my stomach and I’m like, no don’t touch that and before all of the words could come out of my mouth, he had lifted up my stomach and I immediately started gushing like a waterfall. Automatically I think I’m dead, that I’m going to bleed out this way and die. They had to call an ambulance. About 15 to 30 minutes later the ambulance arrived. The whole time I’m freaking out thinking that I’m going to die before the ambulance even gets there. They had to pick me up ever so slightly and roll me on to this big orange tarp looking thing and carry me out of my apartment complex to put me in the ambulance and get me to the hospital.
    When I get there the doctor took one look and immediately told the doctors to prep me for surgery. I’m like what?! I don’t even have anybody here with me, I can’t have surgery. And the doctor said otherwise you won’t make it. That was the last of our conversation. Next thing I know I was being prepped for surgery they put an IV in my arm and knocked me out. According to what they told me, I had flatlined during surgery and they had to resuscitate me, and remove all kinds of infection but they didn’t tell me exactly what all they removed inside me but they did say not to remove the bandage. At this time I didn’t have any strength so I wasn’t going to try to even move.
    I ended up being doped up with a bunch of medication again. Apparently they gave me a bunch of antibiotics and something called liquid Dilaudid 4 mg into my IV, and pills that were called percocet 10mg, and they did this every 4 hours. Although I could still feel quite a bit of pain, it made me so drowsy I would fall asleep. I had to stay in the ICU for about a week all by myself, miserable thinking that I was going to die and no one was going to be there with me.
    I only got two visits the whole time I was there and that was my kids’ father once, and my grandfather which also brought a brand new outfit for me to wear when I went home because I didn’t have but a pair of underwear and a t-shirt on when I went to sleep before I woke up like that. According to what I was told, they had to leave my abdomen wound open and that it was 6 inches deep, 8 inches across and 3 inches open. They told me that it was a miracle that I even survived because if I would have showed up 5 minutes later I would have been dead. Apparently my body went into shock because they told me they didn’t think it was as bad until they went and opened me up.
    When they sent me home I had to have this machine called a wound vac, it’s where they cut a piece of foam to the size and shape of your wound fill it in with it, this certain kind of tape over it pinch it, attached a tube that went to the actual machine itself that was supposedly supposed to suck the infection out. I had a home nurse that came out twice a week and cleaned it up but I wasn’t able to do anything at all by myself. I had to stay in bed not move for over 4 months other than for someone to help me go to the bathroom. At this time I lost almost every bit of my muscle. I looked like a bag of bones because my body had so much skin with no actual meat in it, so sickly. I have gained fat and very very little muscle since then, but at this point in time I can barely even handle holding a gallon of milk out for my body without my arm giving out and my elbow looking like it’s going to bend backward. I can’t sit in one spot for a very long time I cannot stand for more than 40 minutes without my back going out and fainting from pain and I can’t even sleep fully because I’m in so much pain. I’m constantly having to shift positions to alleviate some of the pain, muscle spasms and twitches sharp stabbing feelings. I honestly think I have a few pinched nerves, one of which in my hip and a couple of them in my back somewhere.
    My lower abdomen where the C-section and sepsis surgery was, is now a really hard thickened dipped inward scar that honestly kind of feels like it’s attached to an organ or maybe intestine or something inside. I have no actual feeling other than pressure or if it is really hot or really cold touching me. It kind of feels like it is burning me from my scar all the way to the middle of my belly button. My belly button is kind of sideways now too. Ever since this is happened, I have had some of the worst most horrifying horrendous nightmares. I freaked out easy. I’m scared to go to doctors. I haven’t gone to a doctor since 2014, honestly I’m too scared to go. I would rather die from a natural cause than for a doctor to chop me up and leave me for dead. Honestly I wish they would have told me what I was getting into before I ever even let them cut me open to give me that C-section because if I would have known this would have happened, I wouldn’t have let them do it.
    I lost my ability to take care of myself. I lost my kids I had to give them up for adoption because I couldn’t take care of them. I lost my housing because I couldn’t make any income to pay my rent. My kids’ father left me, I had to try to take care of myself the best I could not being able to do much. Thank God for giving me the strength I did have until I found the love of my life, my fiance. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t be here. Ever since I gave my kids up for adoption I’ve been having to pay child support for them for when they were in Children Services in the beginning before they were adopted. They still expect me to work after all of this but I don’t have any actual proof or any income of my own to get a lawyer to try to get my disability because I’m only 26 years old now, and they think that since I was a mom at home taking care of my kids, not actually having a job paying into disability and the fact that I’m so young that I shouldn’t qualify for Social Security disability or SSI because I can’t get the proof without going to a doctor.
    Honestly I wish God would send me the strength to bear through this and figure out a way to maybe overcome some of my fears to be able to do what I need to do and maybe go to doctors that really listen to me ones that I can trust so I can get the help I really need. I’m just so scared no one really wants to listen no one wants to believe anything that I tell them about what happened to me. I feel like a failure a burden. I just wish everything could go back to normal.

    I went in the hospital 9/5/17. Changed my life forever. Temperature high, blood pressure low, and blood sugar high.
    Docs said I was in DKA, but I could not feel my feet or hands, I informed the nurse. The nurse was sure it was the fentanyl IV.
    Blood pressure continuing to drop, temperature still high and docs are in telling me that I needed to have an IV placed in my neck to administer drugs to help regulate my blood pressure. I remember having IV placed in my neck, but the rest was unknown.
    I am telling you what I was told by my brother who was at my side. My fever began to spike, I became extremely anxious, the nurses and doctors were in a panic. Code called and rescue team came to my aid after being at hospital over 13hrs.
    I was rushed to the ICU and waking up 5dys later to realize I have bilateral foot drop and muscle wasting in my hands (right side inability to hold a piece of paper). Docs later told me that I was septic from an UTI.
    I could not walk nor feed myself. Long story short, I walk without a walker, gait is very unsteady, still have bilateral foot drop, unable to use a knife (but can hold my fork and feed myself). All because there was no recognition of sepsis before it was too late.
    Thank God, I am living!

    I work in the medical field and in 07/2017 I woke up one morning and my left hip area was in pain. I shrugged it off as I slept wrong or pulled a muscle and tried to self treat the symptoms. working in the ER I was used to people coming in for minor things that could be handled at their PCP office. I was literally in non sto pain for 10 days. The pain was excruicating!! I finally called my primary doctor and set a appointment for the next day. I hobbled up to the sign in desk and the front dest clerk looked at me and said DO NOT MOVE and my doctor came to the front took one look at me and said GO STRAIGHT to the ER which was next to the doctors office. The doctors office called for someone to come with a wheelchair to bring me over because i could hardly walk. I got to the ER and it was packed but they brought me straight pack at that point I knew something was seriously wrong after a battery of x-rays and 2 CTs later I was asked if I had fallen and I was like NO and then the doctor states he believes i was spetic. They found out I had gallstones and one had escaped the bile duct and logged itself in my left hip, and the stone had E-Coli in it. I had two major surgeries in 4 weeks and I am still dealing with the after math of this and live everyday in fear that it will return!

    I too survived a sepsis infection because I waited too long before going to the hospital . I got really sick while on vacation , but the pain started before we left . The dr said it was a siatic nerve so I was put on an anti inflammatory. We I actually felt something traveling through my blood vessels . I Waited two weeks before seeing my dr. I hid how sick I was . I’ve been on and off antibiotics for 14 years . More on then off. I keep telling drs. That I have an infection through out my body . I can’t get any one to believe me . I feel so alone. If only I can find a dr who will believe me . I’ve been to 6 infectious desease drs. Had multiple biopsy s . Nothing shows I have a infection. My nerves are shot

    Ma’em..can u plz answer my question? Do sepsis patients always experience faster heartbeats and shivering?

    My beautiful vibrant mother died last week from sepsis. She was taking methotrexate zeljanz and prednisone for rheumatoid arthritis. Her white cell count was extremely low which resulted in a compromised immune system.
    She must have picked up an infection that entered the blood stream.
    Two weeks ago she was swimming, doing yoga, weight training.
    She went to ER on Monday complaining of not being able to swollow with burning throat, they NEVER did a throat culture. On her chart it states she is on drugs that can lower the ammune system. Her white cell count was extremely low, All signs of an infection.
    She was sent home with a prescription for acid reflux (which she didn’t have)
    She became sicker and weaker at home. She went back to ER two days later. By this time the infection of sepsis had spread.
    She had multiple organ failure and died
    Our family is heartbroken and in shock

    My mom died on January 28, 2019 from septic shock. She was feeling fine just a few days before. She had stage 4 cirrhosis and was on medicine to make her have multiple bowel movements daily in order to keep her ammonia levels down. So she missed the signs of abdominal pain and diarrhea associated with ischemic bowel (gangrene) because her medicine caused these symptoms regularly. On the evening of January 24 she had a sudden attach of intense abdominal pain. Called an ambulance . Er doctor does a scan and sees Her bowels had lost blood supply due to scar tissue (adhesions) from past surgeries. She is transferred to another hospital were she has emergency surgery, but she never gains consciousness again. On second day after surgery she began to swell, her blood pressure dropped dramatically, her kidneys begin shutting down. Blood test show sepsis. We had to turn her over to Hospice care in order to keep her comfortable. 11 hours later we hold her hand as she takes her last breath. She was 70 years old but we still didn’t expect to lose her so soon.

    Sepsis is serious. My mother passed because she went into Septic Shock from a UTI. I felt the hospital should have been accountable because the did not treat it properly. We did know anything about sepsis until after she dead. I miss my mother so much.

    I am so shaken by everyone’s stories. My boyfriend has just been diagnosed with sepsis. And it’s bad.. it’s real real bad.. he is a severe diabetic and has not been admitted into the ICU. Why?
    He also has a Cronic lung disease called sarcoidosis (which is on a steroid for) The doctors have had him on flomax for an enlarged prostate and of course insulin. He’s been in and out of the ER/hospital bc his blood pressure keeps plummeting and he passes out. ***his last stay was from Sunday before last until this past Wednesday. They discharged him once again saying everything is looking better and better!
    By the next morning he was in so much pain he was bedridden. He kept saying I think it’s my kidneys… over and over, then His breathing became labored and this past Saturday night he started shaking uncontrollablely saying he was so cold.
    Then Sunday he had a high fever. He is 6’6 and 275lbs. It’s not an easy task to get him to go to the ER. Especially after every single test known to man has been run on him from, blood tests, urine tests, CAT scans, MRI’s, an EKG, songograms… the list goes on. But his mom and I convinced him. It is now Tuesday and they have finally come around to vaguely mention the word sepsis. Reading what I have about this blood infection I am utterly terrified… he is NOT in the ICU and he is a severe diabetic with known blood clots and a lung disease…. his temperature keeps spiking then breaking then spiking. Last night his breathing got so labored they gave him a breathing treatment and said he was having heart palpitations. He has had these weird blisters poping up I’ll over his body for weeks now! And before today kept saying oh he’s anemic but not doing anything about it.
    They are being so vague about it all. Can anyone help me or tell me where to read up on this or where NOT to read up on this, so I can better ask questions to this unforthcoming medical staff? Thank you ❤️

    My mother had flu like symptoms last year. I took her to walk in centre and they diagnosed her with a Uti. Her symptoms got worse. Feeling very tired. Sleeping most of the day and feeling extremely cold. She was getting worse. I called an ambulance and the paramedics said just take her back to the walk in centre. We persisted and begged them to take her. She was so poorly and had been like it for over a week. We got to hospital and we were told we were lucky we had brought her in when we did. It was fatal. I was told she had sepsis. I just couldn’t believe it. I had absolutely no idea. After three separate admissions to hospital my mother finally made good progress. I genuinely had no idea of the symptoms of sepsis. We all thought it was a bad case of the flu. I knew sepsis was life threatening but I had no idea of the symptoms. The fact that even the paramedics didn’t even pick up on the symptoms just shows how it can be missed. The antibiotic has to be administered within the first hour of diagnosis, for a chance of survival. Awareness is everything with Sepsis.

    My heart goes out to so many of you who have battled sepsis or him lost a loved one to it, but can we please get one thing straight. Sepsis is NOT a contagious disease spread between people like a cold or other means. Sepsis does not require a medical quarantine nor is it contagious. The most basic way to put it in sepsis is when an infection that you already have inside your body somewhere spreads to your blood stream. It’s just super irritating to read through the stories and people are wondering where they got exposed or why they weren’t quarantined. so I just thought I would put that out there.

    I came home from the hospital July 2nd after battling Sepsis from a UTI. I got sick on June29 and was soon shivering while the temp outside was 94. I turned up the thermostat to 75 and I was still shivering under blankets. Thank God I knew something was really wrong. I couldn’t find a thermometer and called my son to take me to the ER. My BP was 86/64 and my temp was 102. I had been an EMT and I knew I was in rough shape. I became totally out of it as my temp climbed to102 a second time. The good news is that it is July 6 and my appetite returned today. I will never have a UTI and not take it seriously.THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.

    My husband has been sick for 8 yrs after an anoxic brain injury caused after lung surgery complications. He was on a respirator for 4 months in icu. Everything that could go wrong did including mrsa , blood clots in lung , spudimomus, cdip, and many more things. Everyday it was something new. After 2 more months in the hospital he was sent to rehab. At this point it was determined he was legally blind due to lack of oxygen during the heart failure that caused the anoxic brain injury. He recovered and was back and forth to the hospital several times due to pneumonia.
    In may 15,2018 he was admitted to the va hospital and was diagnosed with pneumonia again. He also had extremely low sodium level , high wbc, high potassium etc. they put him on antibiotics and other medications to get his other numbers under control. He also was diagnosed with mrsa again. On may 25th we were told his numbers were all god and he could go to rehab to get back on his feet. He was put in isolation for several days and than on may 28th he was removed from isolation and permitted to go down to gym to start his rehab progress. He was not getting better and they asked to put a port in for antibiotics. Even with the treatment he continued to get worse but no one in rehab ever said he should go back to the hospital even though his breathing was bad and you could hear him in the hallway. He also had low oxygen levels although they had put him on oxygen. I started to bring my own Poulsox machine to rehab to check it myself. My readings were in low 80s even on oxygen. I talked to the nurses and they just turned up the oxygen. He was not communicating as he should and was often very confused. On June 4th after asking several times why he wasn’t sent back to the hospital I demanded to speak to the nursing director. I had already talked to the head nurse about getting him moved back to hospital. Her response was the hospital can’t do any more for him than we are already doing. When the nursing director finally came she asked me what my main concerns were and I told her all of them. She said I have not dealt with your husband so I don’t know what he was like when he came in and if he is better or worse. She asked me to give her 20 minutes to look over his records. She was back in a little less than 20 minutes and told me she contacted his dr taking care of him and they said 911 was on the way to move him. They didn’t want him to go back to the va as they recommended a team at largo medical to work with him. He went to the hospital at about 4:30 on June 4. As soon as he got there he went into pulmonary distress. They tried a breathing mask which helped a little but they still said his breathing the way he was would hurt his heart if it continued. They called in a pulmonary specialist that came and said he needed to be on a breathing tube immediately. They needed to sedate him and work on getting his breathing and heart rate under control. He was comfortable and doing better when I left the hospital to go home. I called at 5am the next morning and was told he was stabl but they had a very bad night with him. His blood pressure dropped to the danger point and he was not producing urine. They had them under control at that time. I told them I would go get his hospital records from the va stay and bring them in. They said that could be helpful as three beleived there was an infection other than pneumonia that was causing what they were seeing. I got to the hospital with all the records about 3 hrs later and was told he took a turn for the worse and they were going to put him on dialysis because his body was very swollen from not expelling liquids. They took him down to put the port in and he went into cardiac arrest. When they brought him back the dr told me his heart was failing and there wasn’t much else they could do. They removed all the medications and said the only thing keeping him going was the blood pressure meds and breathing machine. I sat with my husband and held his hand and watched the blood pressure drop till it reach d single digit numbers and he died. No one ever told me it was septic shock or that they thought he has sepsis. He had fought back so many times before I had no idea it was as bad as it was.

    It was a extremely emotional experience and I wish I had a little more knowledge about this as I would have insisted he be back in the hospital way before I did.

    Drs , nurses. And family need to get more education about this and the symptoms. I blame myself every day for not arguing to get him back to the hospital before I did.

    I am a retired registered nurse and I know about sepsis. About three weeks ago, I didn’t feel well for two days. No specific symptoms at all. On the 3rd day I had lab work done at an outside lab for another problem. From there my husband and I went to a coffee shop. I immediately went to the bathroom because I felt like I needed to go. After sitting on the toilet and not using it, I felt dizzy so I dropped down to my knees and then laid on my side on the restroom floor. My husband came looking for me because I didn’t come out to the table. I was already out of it because all I could say was “I don’t want to go to the hospital” so I wouldn’t unlock the door. When I decided that maybe I should go to the hospital, I wasn’t able to move my arms or lift myself up. My trim husband slid underneath the door to unlock it and the manager had called the ambulance. The coffee shop was about 5 minutes from a free-standing ER. I do not have any memories of going to the ER or anything that was done to me until later when I had awakened enough to hear the doctor say ” You have to be admitted to the hospital. Where do you want to go?” Another ambulance took me to the hospital less than 10 miles away. I only vaguely remember the trip. I do not remember arriving at the ICU at the hospital. The next morning I felt almost normal again. I had received many bags of normal saline and also antibiotics. It turned out that I had sepsis with a urinary track infection. I had absolutely no symptoms except just feeling unwell. I had no burning when I went to the bathroom and no pain anywhere. I guess my point is that if you feel really, really bad – see a doctor before you become critical. Don’t assume that you will get better on your own like I did. I didn’t realize that sepsis could creep up so quickly.

    Where I am from nobody cares about those symptoms.I had all those symptoms and I have still having fainting spells cause they didn’t treat me as they should.They did the surgery and sent me home 4 days later and didn’t get all the infections now my surgery sight is balloning and stomach still swelling cause I still have the infection.

    I noticed most of the cases above had some other medical issue which contributed them to be exposed to sepsis. About 15 years ago, I was still in high school and one spring afternoon I felt chilly but it was very warm. Had softball practice after school and brought my jacket since I was still cold. Everyone else shed their jackets after warm up but me. Later that evening I just felt like I was coming down with a cold so I just relaxed but early the next morning I woke and felt awful so took my temp and it was 104! I crawled down the stairs to wake my parents who took me to the ER. They thought it was just a viral cold and sent me home. Later that morning I was still experiencing severe chills and couldn’t even keep water down. Went back to the ER where my childhood dr. tested my bloody sputum and admitted me with sepsis. I was in the hospital for 3-4 days and had a picc line inserted which I had to come back to outpatient everyday to get fluids for a week or so. So thankful my dr knew what it was before I got worse and could have died. Looking back the only exposure I think I had could have been from my part time housekeeping job at a mid scale hotel. Our cheap manager did not supply gloves for us and some old man had a fecal accident in the bed and covered it up and left the mess without telling anyone. So I did not see it before touching it when pulling the bedding off.

    It breaks my heart to read how many people are effected by septic shock yet warning signs are missed by the doctors.

    In 2016, my mom experienced septic shock caused by Ecoli from something she ate in a foreign country while on vacation. She went to the doctor since the pain was not going away. All of the warning signs were there. Her blood pressure dropped significantly, she was confused and in a lot of pain. It got to the pint where she was not recognizing her family and moaning non stop from pain. Unfortunately, the doctors didn’t recognize the warning signs and when I asked th doctors if she should be in ICU due to the severity of her case, they told me she has to be on life support in order to qualify for ICU. That same evening my mom ended up being on life support. They finally transferred her to ICU and those three months were the worst time of my life. For the longest time I kept hearing that my mom is still in the woods. Our lives changed over night… I never imagined anything like this. For the longest time I was hearing bad news everyday. Most of her organs had collapsed. The doctors told me the tissue on her fingers and toes was dying so they had to amputate all of her fingers and toes. She ended up getting a minor stroke had pneumonia but my mom is a fighter. After being in induced coma for three months she finally came back but unfortunately she lost her fingers and toes. I give a lot of credit to the ICU Doctors and nurses for working so hard and giving life to my mom. I always wonder if the results would have been different if they had transferred her to the ICU sooner. I am sharing my story so it can help someone else. Always fight for your loved one and if something doesn’t feel right let the doctors know and keep fighting until they listen you. Even though everyday I was hearing bad news I always knew that my mom would make it. She is an amazing person with positive attitude and a lot of hope. When she found out about her fingers and toes she was more concerned about me than herself. She appreciates the life God has given her and has learned how to use her hands without any special equipment. She continues to make progress everyday. Of course her body will never be the same but she is a fighter with I can do anything attitude!!!

    I had a right hip replacement in 2012 I started developing severe pain shortly after that my surgeon told me that was normal for me because I have scoliosis so they have to rebuild my hip to fit so I have become accustomed to the pain in 2015 the pain got worse at that time I started going to the hospital frequently and they could not find anything wrong with my prosthesis so they sent me home that same night I went back to the ER I could barely walk the ER doctor told me and my sister if I could take one step they will send me back home and to follow up with my doctor me and my sister was very confused she was very upset because I was in so much pain and the hospital refuse to keep me there and figure out what was wrong they made me literally drag my leg to make that one step once I did they discharged me the night I went home was up all night crying and screaming was not able to put any weight on that right hip at all and I would not let anyone touch it that’s how much pain I was in my brother and nephew had to carry me to the bathroom until my sister’s went out and bought me a side bed toilet and adult under garments they could not indure the pain i was going through it was unbearable it put a strain on the whole family they were all afraid because I could not walk the next day when I finally dosed off for 30 minutes I awoke with more pain then the night before I didn’t not think it could have gotten any worse than the night before my sister decided to call my primary doctor and let him know what was exactly going on and when she told him that I have been to the hospital and that I have been turned away and sent home he was angry he told my sister I needed to go back to the hospital ASAP or I was not going to live pass that day he assured her that my symptoms we’re life threatening he wanted her to call 911 and to get a ambulance there and he would meet us there so they were there to get me within 5 minutes once we got there a orthopedic surgeon came down to see me and put his hand against my surgery site a nurse walked in the room and said to the doctor that she was here when I came in to the hospital prior to this date and she then went on to tell the doctor in a very snobby voice that I keep returning and that the doctors that seen me the other times told me to go home and rest and follow up with my primary doctor because there was nothing that they could see was wrong with me and that I was what they call a frequent flyer at the ER so it would be best if I went home and tend to my wounds the surgeon touch my surgery site he turned around and told that nurse you better hope to God nothing happens to this lady because I believe that she is sepsis and he then told her she needed to step out of the room and wait for him and he will be in there to talk to her momentarily he then went on and started ordering all these test alot of blood work and he left the room and came back with 7 more nurses he asked my sister’s to leave because the room had to be sterile when they hugged me and left he turned to me and told me he was very sorry for the way I was being treated but he assured me that all that was about to change he informed me that I had a temperature of 105 so he knew it was infection related then he suited up put a mask on and gloves took a syringe out then he draped a white cloth on my hip and then inserted the syringe into my prosthetic hip as far as it could go then he started to drain fluid that was green and thick as soon as he pulled it out he told colleagues to get me ready to go upstairs to the OR and he then called upstairs after he read my test results he got white as a ghost he pulled all the nurses to the side huddled up outside my room and after that things started going fast what I later learned was that all my organs was failing my kidneys went first I was put on dialysis machine from that moment that doctor came in and took over where that idiot nurse fail to help along with the other doctor that sent me home this doctor saved my life I was in that hospital for a month and indured 3 more surgeries had 6 blood transfusions due to the failure of the pic line that was inserted in my neck that malfunction causing me to lose over half my blood supply in my body I awoke with a blood soaked pillow I also had another infection I got while I was there in the hospital called C dip which can be life threatening I went to a nursing home for a month and a half after all that i went home in a wheelchair because in order to save my life they had to remove my ball joint till I was strong enough to hold it in my body I stayed 8 more months in wheelchair I could not walk after the 8 months went back to surgery stayed 3 weeks in the hospital again and the back to the nursing home to start my physical therapy I was there for a month as of today I’m still fighting this hip replacement problem and the doctor said once you are sepsis you have a chance of it occuring more than two more times in your life so I have to be careful thank you for letting me tell my story there might be someone out there with a similar story you are not alone trust me I suffer every day but never give up fighting there is a light at the end of the tunnel

    I acquired sepsis at Northwestern, where I had been treated for a kidney infection. Two days after I was discharged, sepsis made its appearance with convulsive vomiting and severe inflammation of the gut. It felt like I had been inhabited by an evil entity, which caused a pain beyond the reach of several rounds of morphine. Fortunately, the ER nurse quickly obtained the lab results that indicated sepsis and administered a broadband antibiotic. By the morning, I was almost well.

    Besides good timing and efficient nursing, something that may have contributed to my rapid healing was a longtime commitment to high-intensity workouts. If the body is pushed to its limits during strenuous exercise, then it may be better equipped to fight off infections and help with its own recovery.

    I thought what i had what was the flu with a temperature of 102.3 but after going to Keesler Air Force base hospital for 3 hours and still nobody checking on me I went to garden park hospital in Gulfport ms where because of my wbc and heart rate and blood tests it was determined that I had sepsis I was put on doxycycline hyclate. I’m not sure if it will work but I’m giving it a try. Hopefully it doesn’t come back but it’s a shame that I had to go to a civilian hospital when I’m retired military and they dragged their feet. Even if it would have been the flu which it wasn’t 102.3 temperature is serious for a 64 year old man and especially with afib diabetic and high bp shame on you Keesler. The civilian hospital wanted to admit me which I denied and hopefully I don’t regret that decision

    My mother was never sick a day in her life. She developed a cough so we went to the er. The dr. Diagnosed her with stage4 lung cancer and did a biopsey the next morning. The dr. Doing the biopsey also put a stint in her trechea. They also said the tumor was nestles in her aorta arch was inoperable. Well on her death bed. Only 3 weeks later the dr admits he tried to get as much of the tumor out as possible during the biopsey and he failed to give her antirection drugs or any antibiotics. My mother didnt die from lung cancer she died from septis

    A then 60 -yr old relative went for an outpatient heart catheterization, after which her cardiologist handed over what should have been somewhat routine aftercare to her regular physician. Within days she began to feel bad with flu-like symptoms. Her regular physician treated her with the antibiotic Erythromycin because she is allergic to most other antibiotics. Then on top of the other symptoms, her nose began to bleed, for which he added Vitamin K. Got sicker but couldn’t get her cardiologist to call her back. Her doctors had some kind of back and forth telephone tag argument over who should be treating her, they lost more valuable time, and her primary care physician ended up sending her by ambulance to a hospital where her he knew her cardiologist practiced. Cardiologist reluctantly admitted her and began treating her for an unknown lung infection. Suddenly while a pharmacist relative was visiting her, she fainted, and went unconscious. Transferred to ICU. Now in addition to seriously ill with what we now think was not a lung infection but probably SEPSIS, she had severe and widespread bleeding on the brain. Interaction of E-mycin and Cumadin. Her head swelled up like a pumpkin to the point her eyes closed. Had to have a shunt to drain fluid off the brain. Because of the intervention of family with some medical knowledge, who removed the incompetent cardiologist (who disagreed with 11 other drs that it must be brain cancer—preposterous), she survived. After a long hospitalization, months of inpatient rehab and physical therapy, MRSA was identified as an infectious agent. It was likely contracted from a medical facility (duh). My guess: the outpatient heart cath procedure conducted by the grossly incompetent cardiologist who later lost his license. For years now, she has suffered with what I think is a low level of sepsis. She had several other surgeries that became badly infected and took over a year (and some longer) to heal. After abdominal surgery for early stage cancer, she nearly died of peritonitis. The antibiotic to treat that, destroyed the tendons in her feet and legs. The surgery to correct that got badly infected, took over a year to heal, and nearly killed her. I think she probably still has a low level of MRSA in her body, as every few weeks to months for years since, she has a bout of fever and chills, though she finally found a doctor who seems to have that under control. Yes, the American medical community really needs to get a handle on hospital and medical facility sanitation and infection control. In addition, they need to be more serious about policing their own ranks to weed out dangerously incompetent professionals. I think sepsis, or “pre-sepsis” if you will, is probably a lot more common than is known.

    Being healthy all my life and having never spent anytime in hospitals, I had never heard of sepsis. My father just died of sepsis in the hospital. I am mad as hell. In fact the night of his death the doctor called me (I was out of town working) asking me whether I wanted him to incubate my father. Not once did he mention the word sepsis, so honoring my father’s wishes I said no. Had I known that his organs were failing and his infection was due to sepsis, I may have made a different decision so that I could have at least given him a chance to fight it. My father spent a week in hospital, came home and less than 24 hours later was back in hospital and 24 hours later he was dead. The night of his death, the nurse called me asking for my consent for them to drain the fluids out of his belly. I asked whether we had approached a grave situation and she said no and that he was talking and coherent. 4 hours later he was dead! He originally went into the hospital (the first time) for diarrhea and weakness. They treated his diarrhea but made him so constipated. They pumped him with diuretics. He came home a week later in such pain that he could not urinate, hence he landed back in the ER and was delirious (which I thought was from the meds). All the signs were there yet no one told me he was in septic shock. Why are hospitals not held accountable?

    I also want to Thank the nurse(s) here who shared about the staff not being more dilligent about cleanliness/sterile when doing blood draws and Iv’s etc. I’m my last 4 day stay they were drawing my blood 4-6 times a day mainly to test my lactic acid- and I saw the phleb’s do exactly what you said! Folks do yourself a favor and be as proactive in your own healthcare ad you possibly care! If youre coherent/ pay attention and adk what and why if you don’t understand what’s going on! If you can- adk a close friend or family member to be your advocate if you arent mentally capable in the event if an emergency!

    I was infected with Sepsis a day after my cat gently poked 3 teensy holes in my leg. I went to bed at 10 on Saturday and called my son to come get me up from my bed on Monday morning. I waited til the afternoon to have my nephew ho with to our walk in clinic so he could get a wheel chair and help me get out of my car- as my ry knee was totally stiff and nonbending since becoming I’ll. (I had a knee replacement and due to previous debridements of that knee due to MRSA, It was always swollen knee to toes). At walk in, they immediately took my blood pressure and the attending said “youre going to the ER. right now- your bp is 70/40, and thats very low.”. The ER staff was awaiting me- where they went into action. I was so blah I couldnt understand why it was suddenly so hard toget an IV in ! I explained anout my cat- and they said that was the cause. Labs for sepsis said greater than 9.0= severe sepsis/septic shock. My level was 26.39! I shouldnt be here! After 4 days They released me. I couldnt care for myself due to my stiff knee- so I returned. 3.5 days and my labs were looking good enough to leave with strong oral antibiotics-but I could barely walk n needed pt- so off to the nursing facility for 8 days! I was home a month and after eating lunch- became very sick- vomiting, shakes, stimach pain and more. 3 hours later-I had blood pouring out my bowels every 15 minutes. And more projectile vomiting to go with the horrible gut pain n bloat. I said I’ll go in tomorrow if this isnt any better. It wasnt. Back to the ER and a CT Scan and a bunch of tests later- I was admitted. The next mirning the Gastro MD came in and said “You have ISCHEMIC COLITIS- your large intestine was deprived of oxygen and had a heart attack”. The blood was the colons way of responding to the oxygen loss and was shedding the lining which was due to the tissue damage of the attack. We agree Sepsis and my 70/40 low bp coupled with my lupus and more health issues wete the cause of this attack. 4 more days in the hospital and I am having a colonoscopy in 6-8 weeks to see how much damage and where. I might need a bowel resection depending in scar tissue/damage. I just turned 60 just 4 days prior to getting Sepsis. My colon is so enlarged that it looks & feels like an invisible inner tube aroubd my gut-the Doctor said he didn’t need to see me to know how bad because he could see it on my CT Scan n he said itll be a long while before it goes down. I came home on Thanksgiving day and it is now 5 full days later and the bloat and pain continue- I can’t eat much or the pain is worse. I dread what the colonoscopy results will be- my last one was clean with no polyps even! I continue on potent antibiotics and hope that the only bad result of all of tjis is that I lose unwanted pounds. Thankfully I am blessed to have doctors who listened and cared or might be alive today. If you get any cuts or scratches or get cat claw poked wash them immediately! And do yourself a favor! CALL 911! Sepsis is something i never paid attention to before all this happened. I knew about MRSA because I had it in 2010. I cheated death 3 times- you might not be so lucky…read about sepsis and know tge signs and symptoms. I hope my story can help save lives. Thank you Amy for sharing your story- I am thankful you survived such a horrendoys ordeal. Cyn

    I too survived sepsis.
    At the age of 26 I had just delivered my son 4 weeks early due to preclampsia. I was watched an extra day in the hospital and was sent home with a clear bill of health.
    5 days went by and I woke up with that not feeling real great feeling. Achy and my back was killing me. I opted out of seeing the doctor this day. I was fine it would go away. That evening my husband came home and I was curled up next to the furnace with 104.9 fever. I took some motrin and went to bed. So keep in mind as well I am a nurse. LOL, the worst patients!! The fever never went down and at 6 the next morning I went to urgent care. My insurance changed right before my son was born so I was at a hospital where I had no doctor. They looked me over and after a few test it was determined I had pyelonephritis. Otherwise known as a kidney infection. I was admitted and taken to an overflow floor.
    Day to day was no answers. No doctor meant I got the hospitalist . The 3rd day in my husband called my parents/family to inform them that I was considerably worse and that they should probably come see me. he was certain I was dying and I was.
    Day 4. I am now drowning in my own fluids. I developed pneumonia and sleep apnea. I was hallucinating from the pain meds. I gained 35 lbs of fluids in 4 days. My room mate happened to be a cna at the hospital. She informed my husband that he needed to go drag a doctor in there are make him look at me.
    He did. Dr. Le saved my life. He immediately ordered all fluids removed. He reviewed my chart and my blood work showed I was indeed Septic with E-COLI. My chart had been updated the night prior to this.
    Day 5 I was allowed to go home. Probably should not due to all my breathing issues but my doctor thought I needed to be with my baby.
    I do not remember a thing from the day my son was born till the day I came home from sepsis. This is all been told to me from family and my husband.
    I thank God everyday that Dr. Le was there. I truly believe I would’ve died in a few short days without him.

    DO NOT ignore the warning signs!!! It may be the difference in life or death!!!

    A friend was admitted to hospital with an incarcerated hernia, and died 24 hours later while awaiting surgery. The autopsy indicated a strangulated section of bowel, and sepsis in several organs. I believe he was at high risk of strangulation of the hernia, and at risk of sepsis from the strangulation.
    I was not familiar with sepsis myself, but I now know that my friend demonstrated a number of symptoms of sepsis – particularly shivering and stating that he was very cold, elevated respiration rate, elevated heart rate, confusion and disorientation, severe abdominal pain, and greatly reduced urine output. Medical staff seemed to think that these symptoms were merely a response to pain. Should he have been monitored or screened for developing sepsis?

    My mother was not so lucky. She lived in Pendleton, OR. She had many chronic ailments; rheumatoid arthritis, no thyroid function, emphysema and a condition that her doctors at home said was Crohn’s disease, but the specialists in Seattle said was not. The surgeon at home tried to help by giving her a bowel resection. It didn’t heal, she entered the hospital’s intensive care. After 4 days, my sister and I came to the hospital, aware that Mother wasn’t a physically strong person and could die. She was getting IV antibiotics, morphine and fluids and was for the most part unconscious. She was bloated so badly she was unrecognizable and filled with so many fluids, every pore on her skin was oozing saline. After 3 days the surgeon made rounds while we were there and told us. She was dying of sepsis, her intestine hadn’t healed and she had kidney failure. What he didn’t disclose is that the hospital didn’t have a kidney dialysis machine, and had they moved her within the first 2 days of her current stay to another hospital, that did have one, she might have survived. But by that time, Father had signed a DNR and it was too late. My sister, who had been complaining of a sore throat then went into hysterics and the staff told me to get her out of the hospital, she couldn’t deal with it. They were right. 2 hours later, my sister was dead of a heart attack. The next day, my mother died. Oddly enough, her own mother died in 1937, of the same thing infection, going into pneumonia and then sepsis. And, it wasn’t my mother’s first bout of blood poisoning, she had had it before. Please, please, please, don’t let anyone else experience this. It’s a nightmarish way to die and it’s traumatized me for the rest of my life. My mother had just turned 63. My sister was 44. Take care of yourselves and be your own strongest advocate.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I feel better educated about sepsis. I’m so glad that you’re doing well, and you look wonderful.

    In 2011, I had a right total hip replacement. I noticed in the second week that 2 bottom stitches looked abnormal. Slight oozing. Surgeon removed those 2 stitches,leaving a tiny opening. End of third week this area became inflamed. I asked Surgeon ” if I need to take a antibiotic”? He said ” just a over -the-counter antibiotic cream. I felt that he knew what he was doing. Within 1 week I developed a abscess that burst. Went back to same Surgeon (in Boston) and he used his hands to drain any remaining fluid. I was put on a 7 day oral antibiotic. It appeared to heal on the outside. In 2014, I was sick with what felt like the flu. By third week I told my primary Doctor ” some thing is wrong. I’m not feeling better”. He asked “if I had a fever”. I told him that ” I was having the chills. I was told I had a virus and had to wait it out. Three nights later I woke up with severe stomach pain,still sick and couldn’t move my right leg. Fire Dept. had to ‘ram’ my front door down to get in. I can’t remember anything after that. I was taken to the Emergency Hospital. There were a lot of blanks in my memory for first 7 days. I don’t know what tests were done,but I was taken to a Nursing Home due to I couldn’t use my right leg. I could feel some thing was wrong. I just got sicker. Less than 48 hours later I was rushed back to hospital. I find it hard to put into words how bad I felt. I thought I was dying. I was admitted and put into a regular room with a elderly patient. Tests showed I had some type of bacterial infection in my blood,my liver wasn’t functioning normal and blood pressure was very low. I spent of 14 days in a ‘regular’ room & had 2 different elderly patients in that room with me. No nurses wore masks,protective eyewear while handling my bodily fluids,nor wore disposable gowns that should of been disposed of before exiting my room. To this day, I question why they exposed other patients to me who had other medical conditions. Some staff went from me right over to tending other patient who was in the room with me. I was never put into isolation until they found exact type of bacteria & correct course of antibiotics and etc.. I truly would appreciate if someone could explain this to me. I never regained some of my memory. For anyone out there who has had sepsis & ‘beat’ it,my heart goes out to you. For those who haven’t, my heart breaks for you.

    I too had missed diagnosed sepsis which resulted in multi organ failure, cardiac arrest I was on life support, my family were told to come and my son flew from vietnam where he lives to england. I arrived at A and E with Sepsis, I didnt know at the time it was sepsis but I knew something was seriously wrong. I explained to all staff who attended me that I was sure my Ascites ( fluid in abdominal cavity due to liver disease) was infected as I had Ascites four times previously and it felt so much more painful and I was extremely confused, I couldnt talk properly. They said my blood tests and microrganism tests were ok, obviously not as when I nurse found me choking to death, on pus and blood ( her words )all my main organs were infected!!! I was very lucky to srvive and I went on to have a life saving liver transplant, although because I was so severely malnourished that the surgeons initially thought I would not survive the transplant. I am still cross about what happened, More people should be aware, although its hard when you are so ill. I wished I had known more about sepsis, keep up good work. Susan

    I am stunned to read these real life stories. I hear this kind of stories from patients where I work. Iam trying to
    get appropriate doctoral degree to be able to implement changes. But I could not find an institution which focuses on infection and its prevention.


    My head is melted I don’t know what to do I had surgery 17 days ago and since I’ve being in the hospital twice, first time I was sent home saying I was fine then ended up with my doctor a day later to be handed strong antibiotics which didn’t work. I then ended up back in the hospital a few days later to be confirmed an infection and sent on my travels with antibiotics again. My doctor rang me today and confirmed I have strep infection and nasty bugs in my system. Now I am embarrassed and don’t want to go down to be sent home again I feel stupid to keep going down. But now that my wound has closed there is no obvious infection, but I really don’t feel well. The pains are intensifying and the nausea is killing me. I’m hoping it will all subside as I have spent the majority of the summer in hospital and own 2 businesses and have 2 children. I feel like pulling my hair out now and just feel stupid for thinking they’re wrong. Saying this out loud makes me realise I’m being stupid who cares and go get checked out but I’ve being sent home 4 times from hospital and once I was rushed back 4 hours later for surgery.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad that you are well, but my heart goes out to you for what you had and your family had to endure. My son with Down syndrome went into septic shock in 2010. He was 7-10 months old. He had contracted (c-diff) while “in hospital” for a respiratory virus. It was misdiagnosed by his Pediatrician at the time. It went rampant in his system. When we went back to the hospital he also was malnourished from all the diarrhea. He lost weight & went down to 8 lbs. at 8 months old. He was slipping away from us. A Dr. made an error in deciding to take my son off of his fluids. I told them I had a very bad feeling & didn’t want them to. They did it anyway & he was turning purple the next day. They rushed him to ICU & had to drill holes in his leg bones to be able to get water in him. His pancreas took a bad hit & ever since he is treated as a Type 1 Diabetic, needing insulin and shots with every bolus through his feed tube. He also has to have enzymes with his formula to be able to absorb protein & sugars. We were in the hospital for 40 days. & many hospital stays over the course of 3 yrs. It was a miracle that our son survived. He is amazing (almost 8 yrs. old now) and even with all the things he goes through daily, he is the happiest child you’d ever meet. ?I agree that it is important to recognize the signs of these symptoms for ALL patients.

    My mother went through exactly the same thing after she developed MRSA following surgery for a broken femur. She had all of the same symptoms as Amy, except she also couldn’t breathe. Doctors kept attributing it to her past history of asthma but we, her family, knew better. There was only one nurse on the floor who seemed alarmed and she later disclosed that she had alerted the infectious disease doctor of her concerns but was dismissed. Mom went into septic shock at 4a.m., was on life support for three weeks and developed double pneumonia soon thereafter.
    PLEASE – Doctors! When the nurses spend all day and night with someone, don’t dismiss their concerns after visiting with your patient for five minutes. If someone would have listened, my mom likely wouldn’t have progressed to being admitted to Trauma ICU for three weeks and a hospital stay that lasted almost seven months. The care she received from the rest of her team was ultimately good enough that she’s still with us today, but she’s not the same. We believe she was deprived of oxygen for an extended period because so many people missed the signs.

    We are just not doing enough to prevent infection/contamination in hospitals, emergency departments and outpatient care. I lost my mother to sepsis, almost lost my newborn son at 6 days old. He was rushed to Boston Children’s Hospital where they saved his life. I myself was rushed back to Mt Auburn Hospital after having my first baby, with sepsis. I cannot recall ever seeing a phlebotomist or nurse not “retouch” my skin for that one last feel of the vein AFTER it was cleansed only to contaminate again for a blood draw without reswabbing the area. This is not “aseptic technique.” I see techs setting up sterile suture carts clueless of how to apply sterile gloves, and reusing one time betadine AND normal saline solutions. In addition to that, this one particular event, the tech left the set up in a room where other staff go in and out with just a drape over it. Technically, it is not suppose to be left anywhere unattended! Whenever I mention anything, even the slightest hint wherever I may be working, I am looked upon differently so it’s a no win situation. Sad:(

    Thanks for sharing. I was touched and appreciate your zeal to inform and prevent based upon your experience. 🙂 Be Blessed.

    Thanks for disclosing the real story. To my fellow health workers, l feel like its really good and productive to approach/ get knowledge from others when handling conditions or diseases that we have observed gap of knowledge. Don’t hesitate till the condition worsen.

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