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

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

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    John, we are sorry you are experiencing these health issues. CDC cannot give personal medical advice. We recommend you consult your healthcare provider who can determine the best treatment for you. We hope you feel better soon.

    JUDY !!!! March 17, 2020 JUDY! I hear you ! I am in the same place as you , and I’m just so tired of fighting it. But I will- I have kids, family , pets that I love with all of my heart ! I can not imagine the devastation that I would cause to those precious people in my life! I will take suffering every day above hurting anyone that loves me .
    Yes , it is a nightmare living with this pain ‘ and constant tests, scans, ER visits, hospital stays, antibiotics causing nausea and weight gain.
    The pain is nearly unbearable, my sides, back , stomach area! The fevers , chills, and constant fear are enough to drive anyone crazy !
    But we need to keep fighting , keep praying , keep hoping and pushing our doctors for answers . Hang in there, have faith. Call the person you love most right now and tell them everything .
    God Bless you and please believe life is precious , it could be a whole lot worse …

    To all of you, I had sepsis and toxic shock in December. I nearly died due to dismissive hospital staff accusing me of pill searching. I finally went to the e. R. At the Mayo clinic. That hospital saved my life. They CARED. They saved my leg, and my life. I implore you all, if there’s any way you can , find a really reputable hospital, like Mayo, and go to the e r. There. I have no insurance so that’s the only way I could be seen. But I was treated with the same kindness and caring that anyone with insurance would be. Please, I beg you all. Take my advice, and LIVE! I thank God for sending me to Mayo. Please do as I did. I’ll pray for you all

    My wife went septic after a c-section in 2007. Of course they pumped a ton of antibiotics to help cure. Since then, she has had GI issues. Is there a way to get good probiotics into the system again! She was diagnosed with IBS, but the more I read about this, sounds like something else. No issues prior. Thanks

    My mom is 72 yrs old and was complaining of severe stomach pain. She had a bowel obstruction in the past and the symptoms were similar. We went to the emergency room they administered morphine and some nausea medication. The did a CT scan which confirmed the obstruction. I noticed before she had emergency surgery that she was shivering violently. So she came out the surgery on a ventilator, blood pressure very low and heart fluttering. They brought in Infectious Disease Control to diagnose sepsis right away. They had my mom on 3 different blood pressure medications, high dosage of antibiotics. They even told me to prepare for the worse. I cried, called my mom sisters, had the dreaded talk with my brother. I know it sounds selfish and I felt selfish but I wasn’t ready for my mom to die. Asked for prayer from my family and I asked the spirits to give me super powers, so when I touched my mom she could pull my strength. Today my mom is still in the hospital doing okay. No ventilator or blood pressure medication, she is a little disoriented but I will take that. This all started on 3/13/2020 with the COVID-19.

    I am in the hospital right now. I am going through most of everything mentioned here and more. I have known something is not right for several years. I am out of doctor options, money, strength, and worst of all, hope. I am being treated for diverticulitis, just diagnosed. As I was being released from the hospital, I was told plans changed. I am not going home. They say I have Sepsis. I am sure I had it when my appendix ruptured and I got gangrene in my stomach, intestines, and bowel. And, when my Gall bladder was removed. And when a metal stake impaled into my leg. And all the other times I was hospitalized. Now, all I know for sure is I am very weak, very tired, can no longer take the pain, I just feel done. I am wondering, am I just going to die after all the painful medical conditions and experiences I have endured? The lonliest feeling EVER! I pray for all of you. God bless you all.

    I’ve had sepsis for going on 7 months doctors can’t find what’s causing it I will die soon. Take care

    My son was a patient in the a hospital in June 2018 , I noticed his breather was really bad 3 days I asked for a doctor to check him over I was ignored , it turned out he got a hospital infection in ended up going on dialysis 3 days a week, kidney failure due to untreat infection. Then early 2019 he got his neckline removed stitches should of been removed within 7-10 days, once again ignored also pleading with doctors to treat my son as I was sure he had getting another infection where neckline was removed I was told many times I was wrong in he had no infection, may 19 my son was rushed to the rvi hospital in put straight on life support. As infection through neckline removal had went to his heart in brain. Septic shock, meningitis, organ failure, brain damage. My son was a fit young man , all test done as he was getting a kidney transplant middle of June 19 as he had a live donor his sister. Then 1 year later a Pancreas transplant. My son did come home I looked after him 24 hrs a day as he could do nothing at all . They still insulted my intelligence as when asked about his legs not working doc reply are there just stiff with being in bed, also told us he was still having his transplant but in a few months time? He could not have any transplant anymore. In jan 19 they told me there was nothing they could do
    For my son he was firing, then 5 mins later came in said they had to operate to save his life as bowel was dead, my son could never survive a operation like they told us 2 weeks earlier. But they took him anyway after operation we never seen a doctor just the nurse looking after him in ccu we got told after 2 days to get all family in as he was brain dead in turning machines off, we went to the hospital his dad came out in said to me your son is asking for you? So he was,my brain dead. 2 weeks later he came home 11-02-19 at 6pm he died 2am 12-02-19 we got nurses out they said just going to the car they never returned all there belongings they had taken all paper work too a hour later police turned up saying they had a call a young man had died in a third party was involved in his death, me or his dad? They had no record of him just leavening the hospital they were told he had never been there. 4 hours of police taken statements then same day nurses rang around 5 pm asking how my son was doing that day. My son was sent home on end of life care that day. In av asked for nearly a year for a investigation into his death in still have,my heard a word. All because doctors would,my take notice or did,my want too my son lost his life. I blame the hospital for murdering my son

    I can’t get the doctors to listen to me! I’ve been fighting sepsis for 3 years! I had fistula sergury and got infection. Went to ER for generally feeling aweful. First doctor said all your doing is looking for pain meds! I was pissed! I had swelling the size of a flat football! I tried to show him and he said I’m just fat! I’m not! He gave me antibiotics and pain meds and sent me home! I went back to the same ER and had new doc. He did 2 scans because he wasn’t sure. He discovered I have Sepsis. It was midnight and rushed me to emergency sergury. I spent 2 weeks in ICU! I’ve had 8 sergury since. I feel like dieting!!

    I ended up at the ER on 9/22/19. They said I had a stomach bug and were going to send me home. I threw a fit and they did a cat scan and realized my appendix had burst. This was 5 hours laying there before they tested me. After the surgery I got sepsis from the infection and was treated and sent home 5 days later. Its been 5 months andI am still very sick. I thought I had the flu and it’s hard to breathe. My skin is dry, my hair is falling out. I have stomach pain and a horrible taste in my mouth. I have lost 30 pounds and have no appetite. I’m scared after reading these stories.

    Did anyone with septic shock vomit blood, old and new? Please..looking for answers. Doctors say tumor. I say septic shock. Please kindly comment.

    Hi my name is Brittany. I am 30 yrs old and had several bad dental abscesses removed. I took the antibiotic and i still had constant headaches as well as diarrhea and abdominal pain. I have 2 5 year old children and live in a rural area with no car. I lost my mom and brother this past teo years and have literally no support other than my dad who works all the time. In my gut i know something is wrong. I have constant headaches and stomach pain as well as now swelling in my stomach that visually noticeable. It’s not period relatedand definitely not pregnancy as i haven’t been intimate in 3 years. I know its related to the dental issues as they were left untreated for years. Im now reaching out for more information in fear. Sepsis? Seems very fitting…but i read it kills quickly. This has gone on for almost a year. What im wondering is if a dental turned whole jaw access can travel ob it’s own outside of sepsis and begin to surface elsewhere because it really REALLY seems to be the case. I have a bad feeling about this but am powerless. I went to the only doctor in this stupid small town and he doesny believe me! He clearly is of the opinion i googled and convinced myself of it..on the contrary i let it go way too far way too long and am in my opinion reaching the dangerous realm and he wont even consider it. Or test it in any way. I feel helpless and powerless and alone.any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

    I have gone through the same I am at the hospital right now the doctors operated I was with the tubes etc… Right now results shown that I am still septic I have fluid in my pelvis and doctors advice me to take the antibiotics and pain killers go home and see the slow progress I make. I AM EXTREMELY CONCERNED OF THIS DECISION AND I DON’T WANT THEM TO GIVE UP ON ME. Its very sad to see my children suffering seeing me in this condition… I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP💕🙏

    My name is Deborah. I went in to have a deviated septum surgery and remember nothing after that. I was flown life flight to a nearby city and my family was called in. I was put on life support and was kept alive on this support for the next 13 months. Two weeks before my sister was scheduled for surgery to give me one of her kidneys my left kidney started working. I started becoming aware of things on month 14 and finally able to come home on month 16, I woke to find I had both of my legs amputated, 1/2 of my arm amputated, 37 surgeries, kidney disease and a destroyed immune system which I now have to do 7 hour infusions twice a month for the rest of my life. Lost all of my body hair and left me deaf in both ears, four auto immune diseases and kidney disease. I feel blessed to have survived but life is hard. I still cry when I look in the mirror. The 35 pounds I lost, I have been unable to gain back. I weigh 72 pounds and I have never grown any hair back. Doctors should be educated more on this horrible infection….

    All of you should consider yourself lucky because you all are residing in the West. You all at least had a fighting chance. If you only knew the horrors we face here in South East Asia. I wish I could move to at least get a fighting chance to survive whatever I’m suffering from. By God I would give anything to move immediately as I feel it in my gut that I’m not going to survive this. May God help us all in need.

    On Dec. 5th I had my kidney stones removed. Late Friday afternoon my son checked my temperature; it was 101.9. I began to shake. My temperature was going higher. My son called my doctor’s nurse; she said to take me to E.R. When we arrived at the E.R., they took my temperature It read 102.8. They took me to the E.R. immediately. They had code 3 on me. We get there at 5:30 P.M. The doctors work on me until 11:30 P.M. They said I had the beginning of sepsis. My son if I waiting 8 more hours I be dead. I was on my death bed. They put me into the hospital that same night. They kept me over the weekend. I almost died from the sepsis. I pulled through from sepsis. I did survive sepsis. I did scare my son. He thought he was going to lose me. Right now I feel tired and weak. It will take me a long time to get back on my feet again . This is last time for sepsis. It is the number one killer in the U.S. So I am a survivor of sepsis. All of this happened on Dec. 6th 2019.

    Hi reading all of this iscary to me I am a type 2 diebetic and have a skin cyst on my armpits and it seems to be getting worse IAM afraid because I want to live I had a tesceduled docs appointment with my pcpnow I got the shakes IAM on antibiotic s but the skin cyst is draining puse with blood ism sick to my stomach my body feels cold I am hbp as well after reading this I am going to call my doctor back to see what he wants to do

    I have been nurse for over 40 years .I’m 60 years old I work in a small hospital .I’m a R.N. with lots of experience and one of my roles in my current position is to audit our sepsis charts. Last December a few of the staff became sick with flu like symptoms .I also became sick with what I thought was the flu . On a Thursday I had a headache all day and on my way home from work began shaking uncontrollably .I took my temperature and it was 103 oral that night I started throwing up .I drank as many fluids as I could and took Motrin for the headache my temp went down to 101 oral and stayed that way Friday ,Saturday and Sunday and the vomiting had stopped. Monday I stayed home from work because I was to weak to get out of bed. Tuesday and Wednesday I felt a bit feverish and weak but I went to work. My granddaughter had a Christmas program so I had only planned on working half a day .I found it very hard to walk any distance at all without becoming very short of breath. After the program I decided I might need some blood work or antibiotics because I was so weak ,short of breath, still had a low grade fever and my color started to look a bit yellow .At Urgent Care the N.P. listened to my story thought I should go to the E.D. because she was convinced by my appearance I was very ill .I told her “it’s just what everyone else has “she sent me to lab for blood work .My blood work was not good WBC 28,Bilirubin was high, lactate was high, Creatine ,BUN were both high, GFR was 10.I was in acute renal failure and septic my pulse was 130 ,B/P 88/60,Tempature 101 oral after Motrin. Needless to say I was hospitalized. My blood cultures grew E Coli and I received fluids, antibiotics ,anti- nausea medications , and Tylenol for pain. I had developed a rash on my back and a cough while in the hospital . I recovered and did not have to have dialysis and did not have to have a port .I was very lucky ,currently I have a few small lesions in my right kidney and a few small liver lesions that have shown some improvement over the past year . My labs have all improved and are normal except for my GFR which I can not get over 45.I just want people to know sepsis is a silent killer and if I would have waited another 24 hours I might not be sharing my story.

    My 20 year old son was undergoing chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma and was neutropenia. I brought him to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. His heart rate was elevated and he was in so much pain. He did not have a fever so they diagnosed him with constipation! For 17 hours I begged for them to do something, I knew something else was going on with him. He had 10/10 pain and he had a huge pain tolerance. I begged the oncologist on call to come in and see him but she didn’t. His life was basically in the hands of residents. They finally ordered antibiotics after 13 hours and only hung one of the three ordered. He ended up coding 3 times and dying. Doctors need to realize you don’t always have a fever with an infection, especially when you have a .1 white blood cells! Who ever heard of diagnosing anyone, let alone a cancer patient with constipation in stead of ruling out the most emergent differential diagnosis first?!

    We just arrived to work today with the news that a fellow co worker had passed away. Many of us were unaware that he recently had stomach bypass surgery. What we have learned is he had complications from surgery and returned to the hospital in severe pain. Since then he had 2 additional surgeries and eventually was put on dialysis due to kidney failure. He died yesterday from sepsis, which brought me to this article. How can a young man (approx. 30 yrs old) suddenly die from something he thought was going to make him healthier ? All this within a 2 week period.

    Sure sounds like a lawsuit to me!! My brother in law is going thru the samething I just hope the hospital caught his sepsis in time? Sadly enough he was at the Er the week before then transferred to a rehab center and was diagnosed with a Uti but apparently the wrong antibiotics not given and he went into sepsis… I hope and pray I can report a good ending to this horrible tragedy that people are facing and its Sad !!! The medical field need to get their act together especially the doctors who make the final decisions on the patients treatment. !!!

    Mary I am so sorry. Yes you need to contact someone for legal help ASAP. The day that you posted this we were at the doctors office and he didn’t like what he saw. He took blood work and later that evening he called us and said get to the ER NOW!!!!
    His vital signs along with the blood results were all signs. The blood count results should have been red flagged!!!
    Someone missed these symptoms. He saw multiple people while sick.

    Yes Mary you should consult a lawyer right away. Doctors should be recognizing symptoms of sepsis – they are not hard to see. The day of your posting we were at the doctors office and he didn’t like certain things about the way he looked and other symptoms. He took blood and called that evening and said he wanted my husband in the ER immediately due to blood results. The blood work shows wbc counts and it sounds like someone did not get on it for you, nor did they pay attention to his vital signs. I’m very sorry.

    I wish I could write that my sweet, much loved, 76 year old husband of 57 years survived urosepsis. He had been unable to eat w/o nearly vomiting for about 2 weeks. Meanwhile, he was scheduled for a procedure to treat a growth on his liver by threading a thin tube through the thigh directly to the growth and place radium right into the growth. They assured us it was caught very early and there should be no repercussions. We were so thankful because it was caught by chance: an annual lung x-ray. Because of his symptoms, I suggested his gastro do a barium swallow and endoscopy. Negative. But no urinalysis! Then, the day before he was to have the cancer surgery, he was so sick I took him to the doctor’s office. The doctor wasn’t there, but the PA took charge, examined him, did a complete blood workup, but NO URINALYSIS. I even reminded them he needed a catheter and I could get one from the car, but the nurse said they had some, not to worry. She sent him to the infusion area where he was given an hour of saline drip due to dehydration, and sent home. That was Wednesday afternoon. On Friday morning, he was sicker, so we went to the ER. They immediately admitted him to ICU. He had full-blown septicemia. He coded the next morning and his heartbeat stopped early Sunday morning. I can’t believe he’s gone. We were high school sweethearts and did everything together. Does anyone see a malpractice suit in this scenario?

    I went into the hospital delirious,
    Couldn’t walk on my own. At home I
    Had severe vomiting and direrrha,
    And pain! At the hospital they
    Determined I had an infected
    Gall bladder. I also had the symptoms
    Of sepsis, fortunately they
    Immediately treated me for sepsis.
    Two days in intensive care, on oxygen!
    As I appeared to be doing better I
    Was put in an ambulance transported
    An hour and a half away. I went into
    Surgery, recieved a stent or shunt
    That would allow gall stones to
    Pass while my gallbladder began
    To heal from infection. Spent a week
    In the hospital, don’t remember three
    To four days. I was barely ready to
    Go home. Still no mention of sepsis!!
    Home, on oral antibiotics, so sick to
    My stomach, two days later I was
    Not able to walk. A few days later
    Saw primary care physican, he ordered blood tests and physical
    Therapy. Went home still no
    Mention of sepsis. Could not eat,
    Could not walk, vomiting and direarra,
    Could not write or think for work.
    Second or third visit to therapy finally
    Found is was sepsis. Now I could educate myself. I was fortunate in
    Many ways but it was a long road
    Back to some semblance of functioning normally. I would
    Consider my self fortunate! I
    Dove in to information about sepsis.
    Has so many symptoms but I rally
    To tell friends and family❤️

    In 2009 I had the job of my dreams, a pregnant wife and had just finished refurbishing our lovely family home. I had a minor surgery. It became infected. The following happened every month.
    1. I went into septic shock.
    2. I was rushed to the hospital.
    3. They gave me IV general antibiotics for 10 days and sent me home.
    4. 14 days later my fever spiked. My arms began to hit my body uncontrollably.
    5. Admitted to hospital with septic shock, severe pain and high grade fever.
    Then the following accumulated with every episode if septic shock/fever/severe pain plus:
    Month 1 I came out OK.
    Month 2 blurred vision then blind in my right eye. IV 10 days…home.
    Month 3 left hand stopped working and went numb. 10 days IV….home.
    Month 4 my torso felt numb as nerves burnt out. Nurses said I will make the hospital stats look great as they are targeted with patient turnover. 10 days IV…home. made redundant from dream job due to ill health.
    Month 5 my legs went like lead weights. 10 days IV…home.
    Month 6 my brain became permanently damaged. 10 days IV…home.
    Month 7 my bladder and bowel were damaged. 10 days IV…home.
    Month 8/9 I purposely lost 4 stone. Added high doses of Omega 3 and D3.
    Month 10. Sepsis came back. Nurses couldn’t believe the Doctors using me as patient turnover stats. 10 days IV…home.
    Month 11 I got so used to A+E that I knew staff. One junior Doctor thought it was MRSA so gave me very strong IV Vancomycin. After 24 hours the Doc said to stop the Vancomycin as it kills everything known to man. That stopped it.
    I was left brain damaged, severely disabled, changed personality, angry, in agony.

    A decade later: brain fried, sepsis still gone, co ordination gone, balance poor, memory poor, anger issues, feeling of worthlessness and being a burden.

    My husband of 35 years had surgery on his back on 10/30/17. He walked into the hospital. The surgery was longer than expected. About 2 days after surgery started with a high fever, 104 and up. He remained in the hospital for 7 days and was then transferred to the medical rehab hospital for physical therapy for 14 days. I was told that because this was a medical facility the doctor and staff would monitor the fevers. My husband was 66 years old and had non insulin dependent diabetes. On the 7th day with a temperature of 99 he was discharged to the rehab hospital. He lasted 9 days at the rehab hospital and had to be sent back to the medical hospital confused, back pain and septic. Even his brain was infected but was given a new diagnoses of early onset dementia in the 9 days he was at rehab. He never returned home. He spent almost 5 months in the hospital trying to find an antibiotic that would stop the infection. The infection was called a hospital acquired surgical site infection that they believed happened during the surgery 10/30/17. He had to undergo 3 additional surgeries in the same area in his back in order to clean out the infection in his back before the infection could get to the hardware in his back. The last surgery on his back was 1/13/18 and that surgery left him paralyzed from the waist down, never to walk again. The official response from all the medical providers was that they were so sorry that this happened to him but it wasn’t the hospital’s fault and infection is a risk that you take when you have surgery. His strain of infection was one that antibiotics don’t work. He was discharged to a nursing home under hospice care where he died almost 3 months later. He died July 14th 2018. The cause of death listed on his death certificate was Sepsis. Contributing conditions but did not cause his death were paraplegia and encephalopathy. Enough said I guess. I ask how could a normally heathy person except for diabetes end up this way? What can be done to prevent this from happening to someone else. How can this happen? My heart goes out to the families that lost their loved one and those that survived this are truly blessed to still be alive. There has got to be more of a alarm to sound, we should be screaming concerning sepsis at this point. There is no reason in this day and time that something like this should happen to a person that entered the hospital for an operation and never go home. Somebody needs to help me understand this in 2019.

    I went to the local ER with nausea and vomiting and pain in the left lower abdomen. They did a CT and told me I had a kidney stone, I told them I have had that for ten years. They sent me home with a strainer, and instructions to drink and take Tylenol. About 4 to 6 hours later I returned to the ER. I do not remember what happened at the second visit except that I was shivering so bad my teeth clattered. I remember telling the nurse I couldn’t go home, after they told me they were discharging me, I told her I needed to lay down. She gave me a smug look and pointed to an empty cot. I do not recall how long I laid there but I woke with dry heaves and needing to pee. No one paid attention to me and I knew I was in trouble. I’ve no idea how I got to the pharmacy and I had no idea how I drove home, because I had everything I could do to stand upright. When I got home I took one of the pain pills they prescribed and one of the zofran tablets for nausea. I went to bed and around 8:30 ish the phone rang and woke me up ( that call saved my life). Needing to go to the bathroom I realized I was staggering like a drunk and was voiding only small squirts. I called the ER and they said to increase my fluids. I cannot stress that my mental acuity was so bad at this point. I called my primary doctor and spoke to a covering person who told me I needed to get back to the ER. I got off the phone and cried because I knew that ER wasn’t going to help me. I also knew I couldn’t drive! So I called my daughter who lives a half hour away and she brought me to the hospital in her city. The minute I walked in their door, they were on top of me! A central line, 2 IVs and a whole host of other interventions for septic shock. My BP was dangerously low, I had 5 bags of IV fluids and medications. I was transferred to an ICU and then a lower level of care for 4 days. This was over three weeks ago. The day before this started I had been a very active person and swam an hour and a quarter at the gym. Now I am home and I have such extreme weakness and fatigue it makes me wonder if I will ever be over this. The first ER my white count was 16.200 and by the time I got to the other ER it was 32,000+. If they had given me antibiotics things could have been very different! I have lost weight, and as I said the exhaustion is crippling. I just wondered if this will ever get better?

    On 10/30/17 my husband, a 66 year old diabetic had surgery on his back. He needed some rods and screws to stabilize his back. The surgery was longer than expected, closer to 5 hours rather than the expected 2 hours. A couple of days after surgery he started having high fevers, was placed on antibiotics and then released from the hospital after 7 days to the medical rehab hospital for 2 weeks and then was supposed to go home. He spent 9 days at the rehab hospital and then on the 10th day, early morning he was sent back to the medical facility emergency room with a high temperature and a fluid buildup in his back, mentally confused and in pain.
    The diagnosis was Sepsis, no antibiotic worked on it, he remained in the hospital for 5 months trying to treat it. He had 3 additional surgeries on his back to try to clean out the infection in the surgical site which made a total of 4 back surgeries from 10/30/17 to 1/13/18. The last surgery on his back left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was sent to a nursing home under hospice care for 3 months and he went home to the Lord on 7/14/18. He never came home after the surgery. The infection was called by the hospital a HOSPITAL ACQUIRED SURGERY SITE INFECTION. I will never understand what happened here and why my husband of 35 years is no longer living. I also don’t understand why in situations like infections that attorneys don’t take these cases. I believe that if there was a chance of lawsuits maybe hospitals would take infections more seriously. His death certificate list the immediate cause of death as Sepsis. I am trying not to be angry but I will never understand how this infection was so detailed in his body and no one saw this coming and why there was no antibiotic that would get rid of it. He never went home, he was in the hospital from the day of surgery until he was discharged 5 months later. He also had 2 readmission for 2 weeks each while in the nursing home. I appreciate all of the letters and blessed to see so many survive after sepsis. Something has got to be done with this. God Bless the survivors and your families.

    I am currently in hospital for the past 13days I want to get up and walk but can’t breathe and no energy any tips

    I am a sepsis survivor. The first week of April 2019 I came down with Type A flu and strep. I ended up in ICU four days later with double pneumonia. After a six day stay in the hospital, I was sent home with four days of antibiotics. After a couple weeks I went back to work. I was still exhausted all the time and some days I couldn’t go in. I had a short period of maybe three weeks where I felt better, but it didn’t last. I made multiple visits back to my primary care dr complaining of extreme exhaustion, blurry vision, joint pain and aches… I told him I felt this way ever since the pneumonia. He ran tests for arthritis, lupus, and who knows what else. On May 24th, I came in for a follow up visit. He said my inflammation levels were very high and incorrectly diagnosed me with Epstein Barr Virus. I told him I felt like I was dying. I knew something was very wrong with me. I went to work and later the same day I began to have excruciating pain in my left side chest. Thinking it may be my heart, I went to the ER. Turns out I had Pleurisy, still had pneumonia and now sepsis! I don’t remember much from the first few days in the hospital. They started several IV antibiotics immediately while they waited for the blood cultures. Luckily the blood infection was MSSA staph…one that responds to antibiotics. I spent 8 days in the hospital and came home with a PICC line to receive 30 days of IV antibiotics at home. I’m still very tired all the time. My hair has come out in handfuls, but I feel very blessed to be alive. My advice is trust your body! I literally told my dr I felt like I was dying. I should have gotten a second opinion.

    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?

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