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Ann E.

Ann E.
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My mother who is now deceased 12 yrs died from septic shock. (Sepsis and Septic Shock) She was 88 yrs of age. At the time I didn’t know anything about sepsis and with time spent all day in the hospital all I could do was rely on doctors to keep me informed of treatment and results.

My mom did get frequent UTIs, and a trial of antibiotics interfered with the Coumadin, which daily mg dosage had to be changed resulting in 2x/wk blood draws. (Sepsis and UTIs) Mom was under the care of a urologist as an outpatient who prescribed the 7-10 day trial of antibiotics when necessary. The last time the doctor decided to keep her on the antibiotic for a month thinking a longer stay would finally resolve the issue. Mom had 12 major surgeries, a heart attack, 2 TIAs, she was no stranger to nurses and hospitals but she was physically, mentally strong capable of caring for herself. However, there were frequent middle of night ER visits for other reasons.

One day mom said she had difficulty breathing, and her gait was off. Not knowing if another heart attack or stroke was to happen I took her to the ER. Within a few minutes she felt fine, sitting up, laughing, talking. The ER doctor puzzled, decided to keep her overnight. The next morning I was told mom had sepsis. I knew many people who were treated at this very famous hospital who told me it had the most sepsis deaths. But this was mom’s choice of hospital as she was admitted to other ones.

Suddenly mom was intubated. The doctors ensuring me it would only be for a few days. As the days passed, the infectious disease doctors and the PCP admitted they tried every antibiotic and nothing worked. They even inserted a line throughout the body and intravenous was not helping. My confusion and questions to these doctors was always the same: “she was fine in the ER,” “if this hospital doesn’t have proper antibiotics, why couldn’t they contact one of the nation’s largest hospital, which was a few mins away. I guess pride always interferes.

I lived with mom was her caregiver for 15 yrs, alone with no one to get suggestions, and all decisions regarding her healthcare were in my care. I somehow always made the right choices, choosing more competent, compassionate doctors, immediately taking action, even choosing meds and which tests would be performed. But with this last time I was in a state of shock and denial because mom had suffered so much, always bounced back to herself, even had a fractured shoulder. I guess I just could accept this was a battle that could not be won. On the 10th day I agreed to disconnect the machine that kept her breathing.

The doctor said her organs were starting to fail. I am telling my story hoping it will help, enlighten others to do what I should have done and that was transferring her to the larges hospital NY has who perhaps had better meds and doctors to handle the situation. Mom died in  a very well known hospital mostly treating heart patients. The grieving process was combined with trying to research, get answers as to what happened. I certainly did not have intentions of questioning doctors, starting an investigation. But till today I still wonder if the frequent use of antibiotics resulted in her eventually getting sepsis. Prior to the last hospitalization she did have an urge to frequently urinate and only a few drops were dispensed, she never complained of irritation.

Source: Elaine, daughter

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