On September 5th and 6th, the Global Sepsis Alliance, initiator of World Sepsis Day and World Sepsis Congress, will host the 2nd World Sepsis Congress. The 2nd WSC is a free online congress in which over 100 renowned experts from all around the world will give presentations on all aspects of sepsis, fostering our aspiration to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world. The congress will be held in English and is open to everyone with an internet connection.
On September 27th, the 'International Sepsis Symposium' will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. An incredible line-up of sepsis experts from around the world will give short, punchy talks on a variety of sepsis topics, to aid the practicing clinician. Many of these great speakers will speak at our very own 2nd World Sepsis Congress on September 5th and 6th as well.
£10 from every ticket sale is being donated to our friends from the African Sepsis Alliance - a huge thanks to the organizers for recognizing the urgency to fight sepsis in Africa and supporting them directly. Further, 6 CPD points have been applied for from The Royal College of Physicians.
Our video 'What Is Sepsis? (sepsis explained in 3 minutes)' is now available in Spanish, easily explaining what sepsis is, and how to identify and treat it. Please share it with your loved ones - especially your Spanish speaking friends - it could save their lives!
A special thanks to everybody who helped translating this video - more languages will follow over the course of the summer.
The original English version and our new Italian version are embedded below as well.
To share these videos, please use these links:
If you are interested in the file, for example for offline playback at a local event, please get in touch.
The Global Sepsis Awards, which are sponsored by the Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation and the Global Sepsis Alliance, honor outstanding efforts to increase sepsis awareness and raise the quality of sepsis prevention and management. The awards distinguish three categories of contestants, namely governments, organizations and individuals, consistent with the aims of the World Sepsis Declaration and World Sepsis Day Movement.
The winners in category I (Governments and healthcare authorities): The Ministry of Health - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention – United States of America.
The Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia is awarded for its efforts to improve sepsis care in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by a national strategy following the requests set out in the WHO/WHA Resolution: “Improving the Prevention, Diagnosis and Clinical Management of Sepsis”. These efforts included:
- Conduct of multiple workshops and meetings to identify the problem and increase awareness among healthcare workers.
- Introduction of sepsis bundles as quality indicators into the ministries of health clinical audit program.
- Integration of sepsis key performance indicators as part of the hospital performance measures.
- Development of an extensive report with external advice to document and guide the process
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.) are awarded for their outstanding programs and activities which were developed over the last four years in collaboration with patient advocate groups and sepsis experts from U.S. These efforts resulted in:
- Epidemiologic studies that improved the understanding of the true medical, human and financial burden of sepsis in the US. The results are used by the US Department of Health to develop and undertake respective action in the context of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) program designed to save lives and protect Americans.
- The development and provision of excellent educational materials on the CDC website for lay people and health care workers to raise awareness of the early signs of sepsis and inform about the sepsis aftermaths
- The development of a toolkit which can be used to plan and conduct successful quality improvement initiatives on sepsis recognition and management in US hospitals .
The winners in category II (Non-governmental organizations, patient advocate groups or healthcare provider groups): The Sepsis Alliance and the Fundación Sepsis México
The Sepsis Alliance (SA) is the leading Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on sepsis operating in the United States today. The SA was founded in 2007 by Dr. Carl Flatley after the tragic and unnecessary loss of his 23-year old daughter, Erin, from sepsis. The SA is an unceasing and committed leader in the fight to put sepsis in the spotlight and raise public awareness as well as citizen concern under the motto “So more survive”. The numerous initiatives included the following outstanding activities:
- Being part of the visionary team that put forward the successful blueprint for a Global Sepsis Alliance in 2010.
- Launch of the first Sepsis Awareness Month in 2011 and creation of the national Sepsis Heroes program and gala in 2012.
- Collaborative work across borders with government agencies, health care providers, other advocacy groups, patient groups, survivors and their loved ones.
The Fundación Sepsis México under the leadership Luis Antonio Gorordo Delsol became the driving force for the World Sepsis Day movement in Mexico and Central America. This is evidenced by activities such as:
- The translation and dissemination of World Sepsis Day promotional materials and infographics into Spanish.
- "Fundación Sepsis México" also facilitated the dialogue and cooperation between the national medical professional societies whose involvement and collaboration is key to foster the quality of sepsis management in Mexico. - Since 2016, the chair of the "Fundación Sepsis México" collaborated with Mexican Health authorities and the Global Sepsis Alliance in the development of the improved version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD – 11 draft) of the WHO to ensure that sepsis is adequately diagnosed
The awardees in the category III (Individual Nominees) are Dr. Alison Fox-Robichaud (Canada), Dr. Stephen Macdonald (Australia) and Team Sue (USA)
Dr. Fox-Robichaud was awarded for the following achievements:
- Leading the development and the implementation of the “Sepsis Module” which is an interprofessional and simulation-based training initiative geared towards increasing the capacity of healthcare teams in Hamilton (Canada) to manage sepsis from multiple vantages.
- Guiding the development, implementation and evaluation of the Hamilton Early Warning Score (HEWS) over the past 8 years. This digital, real-time, monitoring system detects early signs of sepsis or diminishing health and alerts the patient's care team so that they can quickly intervene.
- Heading the Team Sepsis: Bench to Bedside, a strategic initiative at Hamilton Health Sciences which takes laboratory techniques and integrates them into routine clinical care.
Dr Macdonald was awarded for the following activities:
- His engagement as specialist emergency physician in the context of a National Sepsis Forum hosted by the Australian Sepsis Network and the George Institute for Global Health aimed to raise community/professional awareness of sepsis and harmonize clinical and research priorities across Australia. This exercise resulted in a health policy report entitled Stopping Sepsis: A National Action Plan.
- His leading role in designing and conducting landmark clinical trials which have improved our understanding of the place of fluids and vasopressors in sepsis.
TeamSue was awarded for the following activities:
- Sue is a sepsis survivor. Sue has shown unwavering courage, determination and resiliency in the face of catastrophic injuries from her illness.
- She has mentored other amputees, participated in adventure activities to raise sepsis and limb loss awareness such as skydiving.
- TeamSue has shared their story at hospitals and healthcare systems in Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Jersey and Arizona as it seeks to raise sepsis awareness and educate people on this devastating illness.
- Team Sue has published all activities in the fight against sepsis on its own homepage: www.suestull-sepsis.org
In late May, the Latin American Sepsis Insitute (LASI) hosted the XV Fórum Internacional de Sepse in São Paulo, Brazil. At this meeting, recognized international champions and important stakeholders on sepsis drafted the São Paulo Declaration, especially focused on Latin American (LATAM) countries. Delegates from 8 LATAM countries called for urgent action by governments, healthcare workers, and the community to support national and international commitments to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sepsis and to dedicate human and financial resources to these goals. Please show your support for these important goals by signing and supporting the São Paulo Declaration (pasted in full below).
The delegates support the following declaration:
Noting that sepsis is recognized as a global health priority by the WHO Resolution of 2017 and that member nations are urged to adopt national policies to improve prevention, recognition and treatment of sepsis;
Recognizing that despite the unacceptable number of deaths and disabilities caused by sepsis, the awareness of sepsis among healthcare providers and lay public in LATAM countries is very low;
Stressing that there is wide variation among LATAM settings regarding healthcare services to treat sepsis;
Identifying that hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance are a major healthcare issue in LATAM countries;
We urge government authorities, policy makers, healthcare managers, professionals, and associated societies to:
- endorse the WHO Resolution on Sepsis and establish national action plans to prevent sepsis, to enhance early recognition and management in a continuous effort to improve access to care and adequate resources and to reduce inequity,
- focus on sepsis prevention by providing adequate sanitation, vaccination to at-risk groups and adequate nutrition, as well as reducing maternal and pediatric deaths,
- cooperate in partnership to ensure adequate sepsis treatment in all nations, through undergraduate and post graduate training of healthcare professionals focused on improving outcomes in both patients and survivors, recognizing that the establishment of adequate national policies to treat sepsis in one country will clearly benefit other nations,
- promote sepsis awareness among lay people and healthcare workers including recognizing World Sepsis Day (September 13th) as a national date
- implement measures aimed at minimizing the risk of the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance and hospital-acquired infections,
- promote collaborative research to further understand the burden of sepsis as well as to identify local perspectives and priorities for adequate recognition and treatment.
The São Paulo Declaration is remarkable, and is another stepping stone towards national sepsis plans being implemented in all countries worldwide, significantly decreasing sepsis cases and the corresponding mortality, as well as raising awareness of sepsis.
Over the last months, powerful news on sepsis awareness and policy change have reached us from all around the world:
- In November 2017, the Kampala Declaration was issued by our friends from the newly founded African Sepsis Alliance, which you can still sign on change.org
- In February 2018, the Khartoum Resolution followed
- In March 2018, the Australian Sepsis Network and The George Institute for Global Health proposed a national action plan to reduce the number of people loosing their lives to sepsis in Australia each year
- In March 2018, the GSA hosted the the event "Sepsis - The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe", together with the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. At this event, the European Sepsis Alliance was founded and the Brussels Resolution unanimously adopted
- In June 2018, the São Paulo Declaration was adoted, as described above
Of course, none of this is a coincidence. These activities are the direct result of the WHO Resolution on Sepsis, which made sepsis a global health priority last year. It is very inspiring to see so many organizations worldwide coming together to face this threat. However, this is not only necessary, but absolutely crucial, and we are not there yet. You may rest assured that we and our devoted partners from all around the world will continue fighting sepsis until our vision "A World Free of Sepsis" has become reality!
Today is June 13th, meaning the 7th World Sepsis Day is only three months away! Below, we have collected some ideas and inspiration for you to host the perfect WSD event on September 13th.
Additionally, we have completely redesigned the toolkits section, making it much easier for you to see what is included in which toolkit, as well as showing more detail, for example the file size.
As a special treat for World Sepsis Day 2018, we will be refreshing the infographics, updating the content and giving them a new look. The new infographics will be released in September, shortly before World Sepsis Day.
EVENTS FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
- Set up sepsis awareness stalls for staff with sepsis quizzes and sepsis exhibitions in the entrance area of your institution/hospital
- Offer special educational sepsis trainings for staff around World Sepsis Day
- Public viewing/streaming of the 2nd World Sepsis Congress on September 5th and 6th, 2018 as an educational program for physicians, nurses, healthcare workers, and even patients
- Organize conferences, symposia, round-table discussions, etc.
- Show the "What Is Sepsis? - sepsis explained in 3 minutes" - video at your event (English /// Italian /// German /// Spanish coming soon)
Hand out information leaflets in busy public spaces like markets, railway or bus stations, and town squares
Set up small sepsis information stalls, use banners or balloons, give out candy or small giveaways
Show the "What Is Sepsis? - sepsis explained in 3 minutes" - video at your event (English /// Italian /// German /// Spanish coming soon)
- Sport events are a great opportunity for people to watch or participate, even spontaneously. Organize a sport event like a city marathon, a bicycle tour, a volleyball tournament, a sepsis team run, a zumba event, or another sport activity - possibilities are endless. Hand out information leaflets along the way. Make sure lots of people see you, for example by planning the route through a town square, or similar.
- Organize a family afternoon, together with sepsis survivors, if possible. Set up stalls and decorate the area to attract people. Think about having some music or performers and something fun for the kids like face-painting or sepsis-related handicraft work.
- Organize a sepsis photo exhibition, collecting photographs of activities in the fight against sepsis, for example academic, cultural or governmental events or sepsis patient stories. You can take inspiration from the one from our friend and supporter Luis Gorordo Delsol from the Juarez Hospital in Mexico for World Sepsis Day 2017.
- Set up a pink picnic. Pink Picnics are social events where pink is used to signify relation to World Sepsis Day. This can include pink salads or cupcakes, BBQ treats, beverages, plates, other table decor...and whatever you can think of! Use pink balloons for decoration. See our toolkits for both event and pink picnic material.
- Organize a Gala Event or a special dinner - this is a glamorous opportunity to raise awareness for sepsis in your network, including for fundraising. For example, check out the Sepsis Heroes Gala Event by the Sepsis Alliance.
IN YOUR COMPANY / Institution
- Pink Cafeteria/Canteen – color your cafeteria/canteen pink, by using leaflets, stickers, pocket cards, balloons, infographics, and whatever else you can think of.
- Bake for your colleagues – Why not raise awareness for sepsis among your colleagues by making muffins with pink frosting, or a pink cake? They will certainly talk about you and World Sepsis Day…make sure to also share leaflets, infographics, stickers, and other goodies with them as well.
- Show the "What Is Sepsis? - sepsis explained in 3 minutes" - video to your colleagues (English /// Italian /// German /// Spanish coming soon)
Show Your Support on Your Website, Social Media Presence, or Email signature:
- Embed the "What Is Sepsis? - sepsis explained in 3 minutes"-video on your website and/or share it on social media (English /// Italian /// German /// Spanish coming soon)
- Share the new WSD Infographics on social media, on your website, or send them directly to colleagues - the infographics are currently being updated and will be available September 2018 (before WSD).
- Tweet about or at World Sepsis Day, using the hashtag #wsd18, #WorldSepsisDay, #stopsepsis, or #savelives
- Share a WSD infographic on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page or story, or put up a post mentioning @WorldSepsisDay
- Temporarily add a pink banner or a button to your website, or set up a microsite informing your visitors about WSD
- Temporarily add ‘September 13 is World Sepsis Day – Stop Sepsis, Save Lives’ to your email signature
- Organize a Twitter chat, a webinar, a Reddit AMA, a Facebook Live, or a Periscope
PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL FOR WORLD SEPSIS DAY 2018
Please visit our shop for ordering WSD articles for your special World Sepsis Day event.
Use your network and the network of your colleagues, friends, members or supporters to see if there is a chance to have your event covered professionally. In any case, inform your local media about your event as early as possible, as this increases the Likelihood dramatically.
WORLD SEPSIS DAY EVENT POSTER
Like in the past five years, the World Sepsis Day Head Office will collect pictures from your events and create the World Sepsis Day Event Poster 2018, so please make sure to take great and high-resolution pictures of your activities.
WHY IS WORLD SEPSIS DAY IMPORTANT?
World Sepsis Day is held on September 13th every year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against sepsis. Sepsis accounts for at least 8 million deaths worldwide annually. Yet, depending on country and education, sepsis is known only to 7 – 50 % of the people. Likewise, it is poorly known that sepsis can be prevented by vaccination and clean care and that early recognition and treatment reduces sepsis mortality by 50 %. This lack of knowledge makes sepsis the number one preventable cause of death worldwide.
WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE IN WORLD SEPSIS DAY?
World Sepsis Day is a favorable moment to increase public awareness for this poorly acknowledged health care disaster, but also to show support and solidarity with the millions of people who lost their loved ones, or, as sepsis survivors, suffer from long-term consequences of sepsis. World Sepsis Day is a great opportunity to remind the public, media, national, and international healthcare authorities, healthcare providers, and healthcare workers, policy makers, and the governments that there is an urgent need to increase and improve education on the facility, regional, national, and international level. The easiest way to support World Sepsis Day: Share the link for signing the World Sepsis Declaration with your colleagues, families, friends, and everyone that should be informed about sepsis.
We wish you good luck in preparing your World Sepsis Day event and thank you for your valuable contribution in the fight against sepsis!
If you couldn't find what you were looking for, please get in touch.
I only discovered in 2016 that the first time sepsis struck was back in September 2011 when I had just moved to Southern Spain for the winter with my youngest daughter. Since 2011, I have been battled with sepsis for a total of four times!
Living with ongoing chronic health conditions (Sjögren’s syndrome, Sjögren’s small airways lung disease and vasculitis, psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia) I had been forced to take early medical retirement from a job that I loved, due to my failing health (previously working in trauma and crisis management in higher education, counselling in the NHS and teaching in further and higher education as a university lecturer and program director). As my health appeared to worsen severely during the damp and cold of winter, I decided that I needed to try living in a warmer climate for the winter months to see if I could get some kind of quality of life back in my life and function enough to allow me to work once again…
Timing and planning had been crucial, so we moved late August in 2011 to coincide with my youngest daughter starting a new international school. It was a huge upheaval for all of my family, leaving my other older children back in the UK. But it all felt so important for me to try and get some kind of life back and to feel productive and be able to work once again in an area of work that I dearly loved…
We made the move and had only been there for a few weeks when I developed a water infection, (a UTI which I didn’t realize at the time had developed into a very bad kidney infection) which I foolishly didn’t seek medical help with in time! I was very busy settling in to our new way of life in the healing warmth and sunshine, with family visiting for my youngest’s birthday and with her loving her new school – life felt so good for a while, until that fateful day that changed everything…
I had picked my daughter up from school and the pain had slowly worsened throughout the afternoon. I’d been invited to lunch with a new friend and I just couldn’t sit comfortably thinking I must have hurt my back due to the sudden, uncomfortable back pain! Arriving home with my daughter, I was overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of being so very unwell, feverish and struggling to function. I had to lay down, thinking if I did I would feel better, leaving my daughter doing her schoolwork after I had attempted to prepare a quick dinner for her (and subsequently burning it!) and as the evening progressed, I eventually realized that I seriously needed to get help as I lay there in bed shivering violently with what I now know was rigors!
I had earlier alerted my other children, back at home in the UK, to keep in touch, via text, with my youngest, ‘just in case’ as I didn’t feel too well! Now, looking back, I think I realized, on deeper level, the severity of the situation that was starting to develop?! Eventually, and trying not to panic my daughter, who was then just 12 years old, I told her that we needed to call upon the neighbors for some help. Thankfully, we had met them previously as they taught at my daughter’s new school. We arrived at their door late at night with me, by then, vomiting with fever, shaking violently and near collapse!
Emergency paramedics were called by these wonderful neighbors and thankfully I was given intravenous antibiotics, there and then, in their apartment! I made the difficult decision not to go to hospital at the time, as I didn’t want to leave my youngest alone, despite the neighbor’s offering to care for her. She was naturally terrified by the very traumatic experience. The neighbors very kindly insisted that we stayed with them that night and in the morning, I miraculously managed to remain stable enough, (following that large dose of IV antibiotics), to drive to the airport and fly back to UK. I was still feverish and felt so very unwell, whilst pretending to be fine so I would be allowed to fly! I later collapsed back at home in the UK late that evening when everything seemed to start shutting down, literally. The GP I saw, upon my return, had prescribed just oral antibiotics and had failed to identity the sepsis that’s was taking over my body…
Luckily my son found me when he returned home from work late evening and I was rushed to A&E by ambulance and pumped full of various IV drugs, fluids, and 4 types of antibiotics. I was treated on different wards for 5 days with continual IVs of antibiotics. I can’t remember too much about it all as I was confused for a lot of the time… It felt as if I was moved wards a number of different times because I didn’t appear to ‘fit’ anywhere? But I’m so grateful to have survived!!
The Second Episode
The second episode of sepsis was when I had a chest infection which developed in to bilateral pneumonia in Feb 2013 and again I became so very ill so very, very quickly and within hours collapsed after foolishly waiting through the night before I asked for help (not wanting to disturb the children until the morning)! I experienced all the same sepsis symptoms, but this time couldn’t breathe properly and spent many days on oxygen and was once again treated for at least 5 days on an AAU ward! I was told I was neutropenic too and at first they weren’t sure whether I developed pneumonia because I was neutropenic or whether I became neutropenic because of the pneumonia?
Eventually, and as I recovered, they advised that they ‘think’ the neutropenia was caused by the pneumonia. I now know that this was undiagnosed sepsis once again…
The Third Episode
The third episode, this time confirmed as sepsis (from a ‘probable’ UTI), was on November 5th, 2014, after I collapsed at a GP surgery. I had felt unwell for at least a week prior, but I couldn’t get an appointment to see a doctor so had no other option other than to arrange a telephone appointment for later that day. But that morning something, somehow, felt very wrong and different as the now, all too familiar symptoms, eventually began to present themselves, once again…
A dear friend was visiting from Devon and we had arranged to go for breakfast and we found a wonderful countryside location. We were planning to spend the day catching up and go on to lunch but as the morning progressed I had the overwhelming desire to return home, as I yet again started feeling so very unwell and went ‘downhill’ very quickly. We returned home and after attempting to speak with a doctor for a couple of hours, we eventually managed to get a doctor to agree to see me at my local GP surgery just a few doors from my house. It was there that I collapsed after trying to convince the GP that there was something terribly, terribly wrong with me as she asked me what I wanted her to do?! I begged her to just help me and I remember telling her that I felt like I was going to die, as they struggled and failed to do an ECG because of the severity of rigors. By then I was shaking so uncontrollably and couldn’t stop vomiting. I had an extremely fast heart rate of 135 plus and breathing so very quickly. Eventually, she rang for an ambulance and I was blue-lighted to A&E! I can vaguely remember the paramedic wondering if I was having a panic attack because of my very fast breathing and I remember telling him that I used to teach breathing techniques for relaxation, so I knew that it wasn’t.
Apparently, I spent 4 hours in resus on that occasion whilst they stabilized me and did various tests and scans. I was treated with 4 types of IV antibiotics once again along with an additional very strong new antibiotic that they apparently only use when necessary and eventually I was transferred to AAU. I left hospital a little earlier than advised after just 5 days due to a bad experience in there… I was still very unwell when I went home.
It was only then that I saw the word sepsis for the very first time on the discharge summary, but I still had no understanding of what it meant! What was Sepsis? It was then that I sought guidance and support from the UK Sepsis Trust after searching online for further clarity and information on what exactly sepsis was…
The Fourth Episode
My most recent and forth episode of sepsis was when I collapsed at home just over one and a half year ago now on 15th December 2016. I was recovering from what I understood to be a very bad viral infection with an awful bronchitis type cough which had taken hold at the end of November. Yet again I was unable to get an appointment to see a doctor but instead prescribed a course of oral antibiotics over the phone, just in case… I then became extremely unwell and was taken to hospital at the request of the GP this time. I wasn’t kept in but allowed to return home later that night after being told it was just a bad virus. I spent a week or so poorly in bed with my daughter having to take a few days off of work to care for me as I could hardly walk or leave my bed. Eventually, I seemed to be recovering well and started to get back to normal, or so I thought… This day, it all started out just fine and I felt well enough to collect my daughter from work and take her to an appointment. As I waited in the car for her, suddenly, I began to feel increasingly unwell with very bad upper back and shoulder pain which started to affect my breathing! We needed to stop at a shop on the way home (to buy balloons and chocolate for a dear friend’s Birthday that I was to attend that evening) my daughter went in to the shop for me and as I sat there waiting, I just knew that something was now terribly wrong, once more! I started feeling extremely cold inside and yet hot and very feverish and shivery at the same time as my breathing began to get more and more difficult and rapid. Once again, I had an overwhelming desire to return home ASAP. I told my daughter how I felt, and I just dropped my bags at the front door as I rushed to lay down as soon as we got inside… I had now begun to recognize the all too familiar feelings that had struck me previously and I just knew that I needed medical help! My daughter rang to speak with a doctor, but they weren’t available for over an hour and whilst she wanted to ring an ambulance I asked her not to trouble them as they’re always so busy but to ring 111 instead. But of course, once she had told the 111 operator the symptoms that I was now experiencing they sent an ambulance out immediately.
I can’t remember too much after that, but I was rushed straight through to the ED and whilst I apparently didn’t initially score too high for sepsis they treated me with IV fluids and antibiotics, painkillers, and various X-rays and scans. Again, I remember feeling that I was going to die and had the most horrific stabbing pains imaginable in my head – I was screaming out in pain and begging my daughter to make sure they didn’t let me die! They couldn’t determine if the chest pains were pneumonia, pleurisy and even checked me for a heart condition. They never found out what the horrific stabbing head pains were, but I was told that I was septic! Eventually, after a few hours, I began to feel a little more alert and a little more ‘with it’ as I had responded well to the IV antibiotics and fluids once they kicked in. I very rarely take any antibiotics or medications and I’ve been told that’s why I responded so well when they’re desperately needed to work and to work quickly.
I was transferred to AMU where unfortunately, one of the IVs blocked and tissued badly and caused circulatory problems to my hand and for a while I lost any feeling. As it was my left arm they were concerned about any potential heart issues and did further tests. Eventually circulation and feeling returned (but I was left struggling with very bad nerve pain for over a year). It was also left so painfully battered and bruised after 14 further attempts, by various medics, at inserting another cannula for a CT angiogram as my veins seemed nonexistent by then! So, after five days of IVs, antibiotics, fluids and CT scans with moves to two further wards (with the most amazing nursing and medical staff), I was just so very grateful that I was then medically fit enough to be discharged (the discharge summary confirming that I was ‘admitted with sepsis’). Whilst I returned home still feeling extremely poorly, exhausted and weak, I was just so very, very grateful to everyone who responded so very quickly to halt the sepsis and helped me to recover in time to be home with my family for the holiday period.
I’m still left shocked at the speed at which sepsis took hold this time, in just two hours, and surprised that I didn’t realize sooner what was actually happening? But I will be eternally grateful, that firstly, I wasn’t alone when sepsis hit me so fast and that the amazing paramedics and ED staff considered it may be sepsis as they worked through the sepsis six! We had made sure to ask, “could it be sepsis?”
I feel extremely fortunate as I know that I remain one of the ‘lucky ones’ surviving sepsis, not just once but four times, whilst not needing admittance to intensive care or critical care interventions or procedures other than IV treatments and regular monitoring.
I have certainly noticed a huge difference and vast improvement this time in the awareness of sepsis in the first responders who now carry sepsis information and use a sepsis scoring system in the ED. This, I believe, is due to the fantastic work now being done around the world and many who work tirelessly to continue their campaign of raising awareness to save lives… There are, of course, still many areas of concern out there for many and still a need for improvement in some areas. I feel passionate and have vowed to help all I can to continue raising awareness too.
The ongoing fight to raise awareness will continue by many, including me, and I would love to use my past work experience to help provide more support and create more support groups for those left affected by sepsis… There is also a desperate need for more sepsis information to be provided on discharge summaries and follow-up and aftercare for sepsis survivors and their families and naturally this is of interest for me, personally.
My Life Now
I’ve been left both physically and emotionally affected by sepsis and I now live day to day with a huge fear of sepsis reoccurring. I must admit to now being somewhat paranoid when I get the slightest infection or virus... At times I’ve felt absolutely terrified as my history is that ‘I crash’ so very quickly! I have extreme bouts of exhaustion and fatigue and I’ve experienced very low mood at times and mood swings. Socially I have found that I’m withdrawn and dislike crowds and noisy places now. Many of my senses have changed too. My short-term memory is awful and quite concerning at times and I’ve even been assessed for dementia which was thankfully negative. I now have problems with significant muscle inflammation and extreme lower leg pain and struggle to walk at times and have to try and keep my legs elevated to help cope with the pain, along with various other physical and emotional symptoms which I’ve been advised are attributed to the post sepsis syndrome I struggle to now live with?
I’m now advised to contact medical support immediately at the first sign of any symptoms should they reoccur or if I become suddenly medically unwell. My medical records are now ‘flagged’ on computer at my GP practice so that I can be seen urgently, if needed, and so I wouldn’t have to wait as I was made to before. I have had monthly follow-up appointments with my GP as I have experienced recurrent infections this past year too - all in all the past year has been such a struggle to function at even a basic level!
When I travel, I’m advised to carry various monitors with me to check and record my blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels so I can keep a close eye on my observations if I start to deteriorate when I get sick to enable me to take action urgently, if needed.
I’ve also been advised to only travel to areas where there are large hospital facilities nearby.
Not just myself, but my whole family have been badly affected by all of this and they are always on standby and on ‘tenterhooks’ when I do get ill and of course we all get concerned that it may yet again develop into sepsis.
BUT I absolutely REFUSE to live my life in the shadows of sepsis and I will continue to do all I can to help raise awareness so that others, like me, can seek medical help and intervention in time… I’ve met too many wonderful folks whose lives have been completely shattered by sepsis.
Awareness will undoubtedly save lives and I will never, ever stop helping to raise awareness of sepsis and post sepsis syndrome. I really hope that sharing my story helps raise more awareness...
Over the last months, I have now started two new sepsis support groups for the UK Sepsis Trust in Bath and South Gloucestershire in England and I have been invited to speak at various hospitals to staff members - and recently, I was asked to give a talk and share my story to the board members of North Bristol NHS Trust. I am very passionate to keep speaking out to help raise awareness! I was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol about sepsis and also invited to speak at the Sepsis Trust conference in 2016.
The article above was written by Sonia herself and is shared here with her explicit consent. The views in the article do not necessarily represent those of the Global Sepsis Alliance. They are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The whole team here at the GSA & World Sepsis Day wishes to thank Sonia and her family for sharing her story and for fighting to raise awareness of sepsis.
To help us avoid similar stories in the future, please consider donating to support our cause. Thank you.
On the occasion of World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th, 2018 and its slogan "It's in your hands - prevent sepsis in health care", the Global Sepsis Alliance called for hospitals and other healthcare institutions to participate in the Clean Hands Challenge. Today, we are incredibly happy to report that 18 organizations from 9 countries participated in the challenge, educating over 1,700 people on sepsis and hand hygiene in the process. You can find a full list of organizations that participated at the bottom of this post, including links to their repective websites.
We hereby sincerely thank all organizations and individuals that participated in the challenge, as well as all people who took precious time out of their busy day to learn about hand hygiene and sepsis - all of you are amazing.
The institution that educated the most people and is therefore deemed winner of this challenge is the Hospital General de Medellin in Colombia - congratulations!
All participating organizations will be emailed a certificate of participation by June 15th at the latest.
We would like to particularly thank these institutions for spreading knowledge about World Hand Hygiene Day and sepsis in their countries:
- Apollo Hospital Nashik, India
- Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
- Clearmedi Radiant Hospital Mysuru, Karnataka, India
- Fundacion Clinica Shaio, Bogota, Colombia
- Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
- Hospital CIMA Hermosillo, Mexico
- Hospital General de Medellin, Colombia
- Hospital General San Juan Del Río, Querétaro, Mexico
- Hospital Regional de Alta Especialidad Dr. Juan Graham Casasús, Tabasco, Mexico
- Hospital Star Medica, Chihuahua, Mexico
- Japanese Society of Intensive Care Medicine
- Machakos Level 5 Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya
- Medcare Orthopedics and Spine Hospital, Dubai, UAE
- Medico Cirujano Egresada UPAEP, Mexico
- Nigerian Society of Critical Care Nurses, Kano, Nigeria
- Regency Hospital, Gowind Nagar Kanpur, India
- State of Jalisco's Health Ministry, Mexico
Again, thanks so much to everyone who participated - you are helping to make the world a better place!