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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. 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.

We have also created a discharge kit for those being released from the hospital after COVID-19. Download the guide here.

Since sepsis survivors are at risk for repeat infections, you should also speak with your doctor about any vaccinations that you may need to reduce the likelihood of getting another infection. You can learn more at Prevention: Vaccines. Regaining your health after sepsis can also be slow, but good nutrition can help you along the way. Learn more about nutrition after sepsis here.

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 cancer in our Sepsis and… library.

Updated March 25, 2021.

Video Resources

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.

Septic Shock with Multiple Amputations: A Survivor’s Story

Rachael D.

Survivor

I had contracted bacterial pneumonia and was prescribed antibiotics. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) I started to take the antibiotics as soon as I got home from the doctor’s. The day after I still wasn’t feeling well, I was living alone at the time and didn’t want to be at home by myself so I went into work. That morning I was drinking a lot and not urinating. My fever then kicked in and I passed out at my desk around lunch time. By the time the ambulance arrived my skin was purple and they could barely get a blood pressure reading. All I remember ... Read Full Story

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Debra Aplin

Survivor, Survivor

I had my gallbladder removed in November 2020, I woke up screaming in pain my bowel had been perforated during surgery and sepsis was setting in. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel, Sepsis and Surgery) I was taken back to theatre that night but the tear was not found my intestines were washed out, the next day I deteriorated so was taken back to theatre again where the tear was finally found in my small bowel and repaired. I knew nothing of the two operations until I awoke in a different hospital in ICU on a ventilator completely traumatised. I was terrified ... Read Full Story

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Sarah S.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

At 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, I had my 2nd son by C-Section. It was unplanned, but necessary as I had low fluid levels and baby was “not in distress, but not thriving”. I had my 1st via C-sec also, so I knew what to expect. Everything was uneventful, and we both went home healthy 2 days later. (Sepsis and Pregnancy & Childbirth) Two days after being home, I developed a slight fever. I wasn’t very concerned and thought maybe I had overdone it that day and it was my body’s way of telling me to take it easy. In the ... Read Full Story

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Heather E

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

My daughter had gastric bypass resection on 10/14/20. (Sepsis and Surgery) I picked her up from hospital on 10/15/20. On the morning of 10/16/20, she was in severe pain and I phoned EMS. She was taken to nearest hospital on that Friday, which was not a hospital her bariatric surgeon was affiliated. CT scan revealed “free air” perforation. Seven hours later, she was transferred to hospital where bariatric surgeon was affiliated. Another CT scan with contrast was performed, confirming perforation. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) She was intubated, antibiotics, etc., but no surgical procedure until Wed., 10/21/20. That was 6 weeks ... Read Full Story

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Debbi Geren

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

3/17/18- Family wondered where I was, my son found me on the floor in my bedroom unresponsive. 911 was called, even though we only live like 1/4 mile from our hospital. Within four hours of being admitted, I boarded a Lifeflight helicopter and I was flown to a larger San Antonio hospital for specialized intensive care. I was intubated and pretty sure I was comatose for 3-5 weeks! I’ve been told that I was responding somewhat at an earlier date, however my first memory was on Mother’s Day at a rehab hospital! I had already had the trach and g-tube ... Read Full Story

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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.