Claire Lapat


I developed severe sepsis and went into septic shock in March 2023, at 23 years old. I was on TPN (total parenteral nutrition) as a result of my Crohn’s disease. (Sepsis and Invasive Devices) Unfortunately TPN is almost like agar used in microbiology lab and Crohn’s disease changes the permeability of the intestines making it easier for bacteria to leak out into the bloodstream, making the combination a perfect storm. I had labs drawn weekly and I got a call in the evening that my WBC count was elevated and to monitor my temperature. At that point I was at 99.8 and assumed that I would be able to sleep it off as my port site looked ok and I get low grade fevers from my Crohn’s all the time. However when I woke up the next morning I felt pretty horrific but my temperature was only 100.4 so I continued to try to convince myself I was ok.

I had a script to take to the lab to get cultures drawn. When I got there, the nurse who was going to draw from my port site sent me straight to the emergency department because of how bad I looked. I was admitted to the hospital and started on antibiotics and for the first day we thought I may have dodged a bullet but that night I was having 10/10 full body pain and I had a 105 fever. My kidneys and liver were failing. I had emergency surgery to remove my port and I was transferred to ICU. I was slipping in and out of consciousness and I was told the next morning that doctors hadn’t expected me to make it through the night. I was started on a different antibiotic and thankfully that worked. However I developed post-sepsis syndrome and had awful flares of my autoimmune diseases and chronic migraine which prevented me from leaving the hospital for an extra two weeks after the infection had cleared (which was ~2 weeks). I had to go home on IV antibiotics and dealt with post-sepsis syndrome and the flares for months after. When I developed sepsis again in July, I was much quicker to be seen and my outcome was so much better. I learned to trust myself and to be safe and be seen if I have any concerns about sepsis because I know I barely survived.

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