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Sepsis Survivors

Being discharged from the hospital is a good day for most people, but it can also be stressful. Post-sepsis life can have challenges, especially if you have been left with long-term problems related to your illness. Some sepsis survivors recover completely and resume their lives, while others may struggle to cope, something no one expected.

Here you can find information to help you navigate post-sepsis life.

Starting in 2019, Sepsis Alliance added to the awareness efforts by launching Sepsis Survivor Week, which focuses on the survivors and the challenges they may face. To be held each year during the second week of February, in 2020 Sepsis Survivor Week will be February 9th to 15th. Click here to learn more about Sepsis Survivor Week.

FAQ

Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section addresses many questions related to sepsis and life after sepsis. Survivors and their family and friends can find answers to questions, such as can I get sepsis again, why am I so tired, and can sepsis be prevented? You may also find our Life After Sepsis Information Guide helpful in explaining some of the issues that could last long after discharge from the hospital.

KNOW THE SEPSIS FACTS

Many researchers are working to learn more about what causes sepsis, how it affects patients, and life after sepsis. Learn more about the facts and statistics in the Life After Sepsis fact sheet.

AFTER DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL

Once you have been discharged from the hospital, it may seem that you’ve been left to fend for yourself. Discharge instructions are sometimes rushed or may be incomplete, or you may not think of the questions you need to ask. To help you with the hospital to home or hospital to rehab transition, Sepsis Alliance has put together a checklist with the most common issues that come up. Click here for the list.

LEARNING ABOUT POST-SEPSIS SYNDROME (PSS)

Many people who spend time in an intensive care unit (ICU) develop problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who were treated for sepsis may develop not only PTSD, but other problems as well. You can learn more about PSS here and PTSD here.

COPING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Your mental health is a vital part of your overall recovery. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue and you don’t know where to turn, visit our Mental Health Resources page for a list of organizations that may help you.

EXPLAINING POST-SEPSIS ISSUES TO OTHERS

If you are experiencing problems after your discharge, either physical, cognitive, or psychological, you may find it difficult to explain. To help explain post-sepsis issues, Sepsis Alliance has written letters that explain sepsis and PSS to:

CONDITIONS THAT CAN CAUSE SEPSIS

Anyone can develop sepsis, but some people are at higher risk, including sepsis survivors. Learn how sepsis is associated with various conditions, such as diabetes, or situations, such as natural disasters, in our Sepsis and… library.

Faces of Sepsis: Survivor Panel

Presented by sepsis survivors for sepsis survivors, this webinar includes a panel discussion about life after sepsis. Three sepsis survivors will tell their stories and will answer attendee questions about their experiences with sepsis, as well as how they found purpose and returned to life after sepsis.

Barbara Widder

Survivor

It was March of 2010. I started not feeling right on a Thursday night and decided that I would go in to work early on Friday morning to do some payroll and leave before everyone got there to not share whatever I thought I was coming down with. I didn’t feel well over the weekend and it seemed like the flu. My scalp tingled, I had a headache, body aches and just wanted to sleep. I was a healthy 45-year-old and didn’t smoke or drink. By Sunday afternoon my husband told me he should stay home because I didn’t look …

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Kimberly Dierks

Survivor, Survivor

This past summer, August 2019, was like any summer for a 31-year-old elementary teacher. I was enjoying my time off with my two kids and living my normal life. In a matter of days everything changed. One second I was planning a play date with my coworkers and the next I went to the ER on a Sunday night for pain in my lower abdomen and running a fever. The ER doctor was convinced right off the bat that I had a virus. I was pumped full of drugs and fluids but nothing was helping. Finally, after I had to …

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Beth Anne Brooks

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

December 22, 2009, was supposed to be a life-changing day for me as a single parent of three young children. It was the day of my gastric bypass. Unfortunately, the bottom line of sutures/staples didn’t hold and my body filled with infection. (Sepsis and Surgery) After a day and a half of ever increasing symptoms–blood pressure, dizziness, weakness, coffee ground-like stools and urine, and finally green infection coming out of my drains, I was taken into emergency exploratory surgery the night of December 24, 2009. The next time I woke up it was January 1, 2010, and I was in …

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Patricia Scannell Cragen

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s many years ago. My father’s sudden and unexpected death broke her heart and turned her world upside down. Her Parkinson’s has advanced rather aggressively and she has suffered two devastating falls with injuries. Subsequent hospitalizations were followed in acute inpatient rehab. Making slow progress, she complained of new-onset pain: severe, localized on one side of her face. Differential diagnosis: trigeminal neuralgia. She was seen by a neurologist the next day. Noting that the right side of her face progressed to swelling with redness, point tenderness, trigeminal neuralgia was ruled out. Infectious disease was consulted. The …

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Noelle L.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

For anyone who has gone through something as traumatic as this, it’s almost impossible to make a long story a short one, but I will try. To this day retelling my story leaves me feeling anxious and uncomfortable, almost to the point that I wish I hadn’t spoke about it. But I continue on hoping that one day what I have shared may help save a life. 5 years ago, on May 1st, I delivered a 6lb 1oz baby at 34 weeks in a Cardiac OR at one of our nation’s top hospitals. I was born with a heart valve …

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Help Raise Sepsis Awareness

Many sepsis survivors and loved ones feel the need to help spread sepsis awareness so others don’t go through the same thing. There are many ways you can do this:

Faces of Sepsis

Share your story through our Faces of Sepsis feature. There are more than 1,000 stories from survivors and people who have lost a loved one to sepsis. Sharing your story has three initial benefits. Many survivors and loved ones feel that writing the story down and sharing it allows them to process feelings about their illness and the aftermath. It also helps others, the readers, learn that they aren’t alone.

Too many sepsis survivors think that no one understands what they’ve gone through but when they read these stories, they no longer feel so alone. These stories also show the readers that sepsis can affect anyone – their family, friend, coworker.

Host a talk

Sepsis Alliance has made available a kit called Sepsis 911, Community Education Presentation. A second one focusing on sepsis and aging is also available.

By giving talks to social groups, friends and family, school, even coworkers, you can help educate the people around you about sepsis, what it is, how it happens, and how to reduce your risk of developing it. The kit provides you with material you need for a successful talk, such as a leader’s guide (with script), a video, customizable promotional materials, surveys, and more.

Host an awareness event/fundraiser

Local awareness events are being held across the country, spearheaded by individuals like you. Whether you want to hold a Stomp Out Sepsis or Sips for Sepsis event, or anything in between, these events help raise awareness and raise funds for Sepsis Alliance, to help support the organization’s awareness efforts. Or if you’d rather do an online awareness event, that works too. Check out the host an event page for other ideas and a fundraising toolkit.

Find local events

If you are interested in participating in an awareness event but don’t feel you can organize one, check to see if there is one going on near you. Visit our events page for a calendar of upcoming events.

Give to Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the nation’s leading organization, working in all 50 states, to save lives and reduce suffering by improving sepsis awareness and care. As a non-profit organization, Sepsis Alliance relies on grants and donations from people like you. Every dollar counts, so no gift is too small. Many employers match donations to non-profit organizations, so you may want to check if your employer does.  Click here to give now.

Buy Sepsis Alliance products

You can find sepsis awareness products in our store. From symptoms cards to lapel pins, these products may introduce the word to someone who has never heard of it, stimulating a conversation about what sepsis is.