Hanna Rathburn


November 2017 changed my family’s life forever. My 18-year-old daughter had been sick fighting a nasty sore throat. She had been to our local hospital for this issue three times, walk-in clinic and ER, Each time she was treated for a sore throat. Then treated for abscess in her tonsil and fever. Then from this, she ended up getting an allergic reaction from medication.

November 26th my family and I came home from visiting my parents for Thanksgiving. My daughter stayed home since she had to work, and she’s a single mom of a 2-year-old so she was unable to take a whole weekend off work. When we got home I saw how hot my daughter looked, her skin was flushed and red, as well as hot to the touch. I told her she needed to get to the ER. She refused to go back to that hospital since it seemed they didn’t really care. Luckily a friend of ours came over and grabbed my daughter and took her to another little hospital, where the doctor  became extremely worried and shipped her to a bigger hospital in Rapid City South Dakota.

I showed up at the hospital the next morning and we didn’t leave that hospital till December 11th, by plane to another hospital. The reason why: Septic Shock. I didn’t know what it was.

While my daughter was being sedated, and put on a vent, I googled sepsis. I was unaware it is fatal. I watched my daughter get poked and blood was drawn every six hours, while lungs were “wet” and her liver and kidneys failed, She was put on CRRT dialysis for her kidneys. Even though the nurses didn’t tell me, I found out I almost lost her on two occasions. Dec 9/10 she was awakened, had the ventilator removed since she could finally breathe without help. She was finally able to talk and was eating ice chips, flirting over a nurse aid.

5:30 am Monday morning Dec 11, she had a seizure. Unexplained even to this day. It was then that she was flight lifted to University Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, ainly for the care for her seizure and the new doctor on duty thought she might have HLH (hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis).

That day when she was finally settled into her new ICU room, Hanna found a way to pull on the ventilator and went totally delirious. This was just as scary, seeing a top high school student, hard-working single teen mom, chirping at sloths and sugar gliders in the ICU room. Biting and kicking, punching the nurses, my cousin, and me. She went completely jaundiced, her kidney numbers started to climb again her liver numbers stayed high. Finally a few days later things did start to level out. We spent Christmas in the hospital. And finally discharged the 27th. Drove 6 hours to get home.
Now we are battling PSS, post-sepsis syndrome. A lot of caretakers don’t believe this is real, that this is a condition. We joined a support group on Facebook, and it is very real. My daughter faces taking blood thinners for 3 months, daily. Constantly dizzy, weak body, fear of getting sick. And even me as her caretaker, supporter, and mother I also fear, My son got strep throat and I panicked.

We found out just 5 days before she went to the other hospital she was screened and it states she was sepsis positive. Yet wasn’t treated for this.
Now the battle still comes with the medical bills, the PT, OT, speech therapy, constant doctor visits for blood draws. And the worst never knowing what the next cold can cause, or what the permanent organ damage that has happened. In a few months she will go in and see what her percentages are for her kidney and liver. We are 12 days out of hospital and she is still weak, and jaundiced, dizzy constantly, slow in thinking. But.. She is coming around. It is our goal to make sepsis awareness big here in Wyoming.

Source: Jennifer Eatherton, Hanna's mother