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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

Gerald H. Williams

Survivor

Well, a year ago, I was having lower side/back pain and could hardly walk. I called doctor that asked me the level of pain out of 10. My reply was 15+. His answer was go to the clinic so I did., The doctor on duty asked me a few questions and said I had a kidney stone on the move. (Sepsis and Kidney Stones) Sent me to the hospital with a note. Upon arriving at hospital, I was immediately met and assessed and put on a bed. Off to the ultra sound and an x-ray. 20 minute later was told …

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Vicki Shenton

Survivor, Survivor

Had a 5 1/2 hour planned abdominal surgery 12/23/20. (Sepsis and Surgery) Was originally told by both surgeon and anesthesiologist that I would require an overnight hospital stay. In post op recovery, there were no orders for admission so the nurses discharged me home. I didn’t know it at the time, but my sats were 89%. I was discharged home without an incentive spirometer, follow up labs and antibiotics. I was having shortness of breath and considerable pain so I saw my surgeon within 7 days post op. I had all of incisions and drain sites covered. The surgeon said …

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Libby Anderson

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

It all began in June of 2017. My wife and I had planned a long weekend away at Fort Bragg with our dog Dexter. At the time we were both ICU RNs working 12-hour night shifts at a hospital near our home. We had finished a grueling 3 shifts in a row. I had a cold. I was tired and coughing a lot. On June 9th, I was excited to leave town and have a relaxing few days off, and so was Mary. When we got to the beach, I was exhausted. Mary took Dexter to the beach, and I …

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Rachel Rosemain

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

Friday August 3rd 2018, I awoke with horrendous back pain, which escalated throughout the day, including during a 3 hour drive, returning home from being on holiday. By the time I got home (I had been driving), I couldn’t stand, sit or lie down for more than a few seconds as my pain was excruciating. I couldn’t breathe very well. My partner called an ambulance, by which time I’d removed all my clothes, such was my fever. I got blue-lighted to A&E; was given maximum morphine in the ambulance and for the next 5 hours in A&E, I was on …

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Roberta Beddows

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

Year 2016 my friends dog was choking on a bone. A very small dog, I picked her up and put my fingers in to get it out. On the way out I got a tiny cut and it bled. (Sepsis and Animal Bites) When I got home I disinfected my finger. Never thinking much about it, approximately 3 days later,  I was in a terrible state: temperature, delirious, vomiting, diarrhea, pain. I dragged myself to the hospital. Told them how I felt. Also about the little cut. They examined me and then sent me home. I could hardly stand. Taxi …

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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.