How Can You Help?
Share your StorySupport UsGet Resources

Gretta G.

Gretta G.

In 2012 my fit active mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer. She had keyhole surgery to remove it. (Sepsis and Cancer, Sepsis and Surgery) We were told all went well. Three days later, still in hospital. She was in extreme pain and vomiting dark green. I expressed concern to nurses. As it was evening they kept saying it was pain from bloat in surgery. We were told to go home.

A day later at 2 pm in the afternoon, the registrar finally expressed concern it could be sepsis. At 4 pm she was taken into surgery again. Apparently she was opened up and had to be cleaned out, even feces from her abdomen. At 2 am the following morning, the doctors were still trying to stablise her and she was taken to ICU. A priest was called to give her the last rites as we were told she would die.

The next morning at 9 a m, her surgeon asked to see us. He said he possibly nicked her bowel or the stitches had come undone, resulting in peritonitis and then septicemia. (Sepsis and Perforated Bowel) The registrar said it was the worst he had ever seen. For 3 weeks she was in a coma. She had total organ failure, kidney dialysis, warm cover and a towel wrapped around her head for the cold, and industrial antibiotics! Three weeks and after three times she eventually was able to breath by herself .

She was in hospital for three months with an open wound being dressed with sorbsan and a machine sucking out green gunk. She now had a colostomy bag. She had to learn to even scratch her nose again. We used a wheelchair for three months after, but Mum was so determined, she learned to walk and be totally independent again.

Several times after I took her to appointments to see this surgeon, who kept saying she was fine. However she had started to get pain and I had cause to take her to A and E over the coming months. We had another appointment with the surgeon just before Christmas and again he told her she was fine and it was scar tissue. I disagreed with him and again in A and E she had a scan and they said it was the cancer!! He then sent her to an oncologist in the January, 11 months after her diagnosis, She was given chemotherapy which made her desperately ill. By August the chemo stopped and we were told there was nothing else they could do!! She died on October 1st in great pain. She suffered terribly, from cancer and sepsis. I feel we lost her twice. She asked me why she was saved and suffered PTSD after sepsis, to die like this!! (Sepsis and PTSD) I couldn’t answer her. I know in my heart it was so there wouldn’t be any blame to the surgeon who punctured her bowel, so this way she died from metastatic cancer instead of sepsis after surgery. I still feel great stress and horror at what my mother went through with sepsis and am haunted by it every day five years on. Three years ago my mother-in-law had diverticulitis and died from sepsis. This time I knew it was sepsis as I had seen it first hand with my own mum. xx

Source: Sharon, daughter

Send us Your Story
Learn More about SepsisSupport Faces of Sepsis