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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

Steve Guggenheim

Survivor

On March 20, 2021 I began to feel symptoms of a UTI. (Sepsis and Urinary Tract Infections) By the next morning I woke up a bit fatigued, feverish and with chills. I drove myself to a local urgent care facility (my driving was compromised). My blood pressure there was only 80/60. They yold me I was “very sick” and transferred me by ambulance to the local hospital where I was diagnosed with s very aggressive UTI and an aggressive form of sepsis. The whole ordeal blindsided me. I was immediately put on fluids by IV as well as antibiotics which ... Read Full Story

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Teresa Davis

Survivor, Survivor

In October of 2016 I had a non cancerous ovarian mass removed. In doing so, my doctor clipped my bowel. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) I was sewn up, no drains and stayed in the hospital a week before they let me go home. Within two weeks of being home, I couldn’t eat, had no energy, was nauseous, and could not breath if I attempted to lie back. They had me come in right away for a CT. From that point I was given a sedation (during the CT), and sent to emergency surgery. The bowel had been leaking content into ... Read Full Story

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Holli T.

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

I am a 2x triple negative breast cancer survivor AND a 2x sepsis survivor. The day Oregon shut down due to COVID-19, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. After I went through chemo and recovered, I underwent my second bilateral mastectomy to remove implants from my first bout with cancer (2017). At some point, I touched my dog and then my drain tube. It took less than 8 hours for my drainage to go from normal, to green and gross looking. (Sepsis and Cancer, Sepsis and Surgery, Sepsis and Invasive Devices) I was hospitalized, put on antibiotics. I was ... Read Full Story

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Debra Aplin

Survivor, Survivor, 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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Kari Wilford

Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor, Survivor

I had surgery to save my left kidney in August 2019. Within a day of being released from the hospital, I had severe joint pain and a rising fever. (Sepsis and Surgery) The next day I woke up with chills so I called my doctor who assumed I probably picked up a bug and put me on antibiotics. A few more days went by and I went to the ER because I was feeling run down and the antibiotic didn’t seem to be helping. The ER doctor put me on a different antibiotic and thankfully told me to drop everything ... 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.

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 generous gifts from people like you. 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.