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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.

Miriam Ewing

Survivor

I was feeling great, teaching first graders on Friday, planting petunias on Saturday and on Sunday evening, I had pain in my right side that would not go away. I told my husband to take me to the ER. After running some tests and taking X-rays, the doctor told me that I needed to stay. He told me that it was pneumonia. (Sepsis and Pneumonia) On Wednesday, I was being transported to another hospital for surgery on my right lung. After the surgery, I found out that I had sepsis. So, I was in the hospital for another 4 days. …

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Frank Sidor

Survivor, Survivor

The beginning of my soon to be hellish experience began just days before rushing to the ER, unknowingly being hours from dying. It all started about 4-5 days prior to going to the ER. I felt a tightness in my chest the first day things felt off, but I just assumed I needed to crack my sternum since the feeling was very familiar with the pressure in my chest that I get when I need to pop it. Try as I may, I couldn’t get it to crack enough to give me much relief. I must’ve tried to crack my …

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Valarie E.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

The nurse was supposed to be the first face I saw when the sedative medication wore off. Instead, my gastroenterologist stared at me and said “I found something. A tumor was spotted where the small intestines and colon meet.” It was a carcinoid, a neuroendocrine tumor (NET), a slow growing malignant tumor. It could have landed anywhere in my body, but I was fortunate that it was detected during my colonoscopy, the colon cancer screening test for 50-year-olds. After consultation with an oncology surgeon, the plan of action was removal by surgery. As a woman juggling Mom duties to two …

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Dave Coppard

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

14th of July 2017, around 7:30 PM in the evening, I started shaking violently. Realising something was not right, I rang the emergency services, 999, living in the UK. The paramedics immediately realised something was drastically wrong and rush me into the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital. On the trip there I started to lose my voice, breathing became difficult, arriving at the hospital, I had lost consciousness, and remained so intermittently for approximately 2 weeks. A catheter was fitted, and one was inserted up my nose to drain the poison in my stomach. I received large doses of antibiotics and was …

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Anthony H

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

In May 2016 I went to the doctor’s for a chest complaint. While there I had an ECG, that came back being abnormal. I was rushed into hospital and observed for several days until my health deteriorate. I was then rushed to another hospital as I was now diagnosed with heart failure along with sepsis. My major organs were failing. After 2 weeks in critical care I was moved to coronary care, where thankfully after such great care from the NHS I’m still here.

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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.