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Annette S.

Survivor

In August 2017, I went for small intestine/ colon surgery and liver resection to remove cancerous tumors. I was a few days post op and doing well. Then I started having shooting pains in the liver area that oral pain med didn’t touch, and then I developed heart rhythm abnormality, atrial fibrillation, which I’d never had before. (Sepsis and Surgery)

Being a nurse, I noticed it on the monitor and pointed it out to doctors and nurses. They gave me IV medicine, which eventually did put my heart in rhythm. But I was still having severe pain. The doctors were ready to discharge me! I told them I could not leave with the pain. Finally they did some tests and I had developed an opening between my liver and lung and infection had developed. I found out later that my liver was burned with a cautery during surgery.

I developed pneumonia, the infection was VRE (a drug resistant organism), went into respiratory failure, ending up on a ventilator, had 3 chest tubes to drain the infection, developed pneumonia on the other side, urinary tract infection, and severe anemia requiring transfusions.  (Sepsis and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)/Antibiotic Resistance) The doctors told my husband there was a 50/50 chance of survival.

When I did get off ventilator, I could not stand without help. I was in the hospital a month, and went home with a PICC line that I had to give myself antibiotics through. Complications from the surgery and sepsis caused me to have to quit my job and go on disability. The doctors and nurses did a tremendous job pulling me through, but I wish they had taken the heart rhythm and severe pain more seriously. I truly believe if I’d been discharged home, I wouldn’t be here today.

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