Posted on January 4th, 2019
Louise F - daughter
In spite of being in her 80s, my mother was a healthy, energetic, and highly independent woman. On Labor Day, we were surprised to find her laying on the floor of her house unable to get up due to severe pain. She recognized us, but seemed groggy. She said she had been tired all week. She couldn’t remember how she got on the floor. She was admitted to the hospital for 6 days and underwent testing. She was catheterized the entire stay because of her inability to walk. When she was discharged, we were told that she probably slipped, hurt her back, and was dehydrated. Her lack of mobility was blamed on the fall, arthritis, and venous insufficiency. We were told she may have had a respiratory infection but that it was insignificant. As a precaution, she was give seven days of antibiotics.
We arranged in-home PT for mom, but she never fully regained her mobility or mental alertness. We had a follow-up appointment with her family doctor. We also took her to a wound specialist because she had weeping edema when she left the hospital (she did not have it before she entered the hospital). We needed a wheelchair to get her to these appointments. Neither of these physicians indicated there were any further concerns about mom’s health. We were told the weeping edema was because of all the IVs she was hooked up to in the hospital.
Two months later, mom became so weak that we couldn’t even get her off the sofa. We took her to a different hospital. She was immediately catheterized, given IVs, and blood and urine samples were taken. We watched in sheer horror as her BP started dropping lower and lower and her respiration shallowed. Eight hours later, she died. The cause of death was “multiple system failure due to septic shock.” No one was more “shocked” than her family! We were totally unprepared for this. The bacteria that killed her was Serratia. (Sepsis and Bacterial Infections)
To this day, we do not know how she got Serratia or how long she had it. The lack of details regarding mom’s death has made the grieving process so much more difficult. Thank you, Sepsis Alliance, for letting us share our story, and for the work you are doing in helping both patients and their families.