Posted on July 1st, 2016
by Lisa Davis (Jeff's wife)
It all started when I joined an online dating site. On March 25, 2008, a handsome young man went out and bought a prepaid $50 credit card so he could email me. He didn’t trust using his personal card over the Internet. We talked a mere four days, before meeting on March 29, 2008.
We met at gas station, Jeff with one shoe and one sandal, hobbling from an ingrown toenail. We had dinner at a restaurant and went on campus to talk well into the morning. Less than 1 month after we met, I was totally surprised when I was taken to a jewelry store and told to pick out my ring. I did and on June 4, 2008, I was proposed to on the beach at Myrtle Beach, SC. On Oct. 2, 2008, I vowed till death do us part, boy I didn’t know it would be so soon! At the reception, Bethel University staff in TN made the comment that I was getting a wonderful man, I replied, saying “Why do you think I snagged him so fast?”
The next four years brought unbelievable joy and happiness as we welcomed a precious baby boy on Sept. 2, 2009, and a miracle baby girl on Jan. 18, 2012 that was an answer to many more prayers. We had it all, Our faith, which was the center of our marriage, our good health, awesome careers, the big, beautiful house, four blessings we cherished, until one shocking day it would all come crashing down…
On October 20, 2012, my life was forever changed. I met my husband in the local ER at about midnight 10-19-12 after he was shaking uncontrollably so badly he had to have a coworker drive him to the hospital from work. He had 103.9 degree fever when he got there. Jeff worked out five days a week and was in tip top shape.
The first ER Dr. said he had the flu and treated him with Tamiflu and IV fluids. Jeff was almost discharged at about 3 am on 10-20 with the diagnosis of the flu. That time was the shift change but the second ER doctor had a gunshot victim who took priority over Jeff. They had no clue how sick Jeff really was. At about 6 am his blood pressure plummeted and the nurse looked at me and said, “He’s sick, he’s very, very sick.” I responded saying, “That’s all I can do is pray!” Little did I know, Jeff was already in septic shock.The mortality rate for sepsis goes up 8% every hour it goes undiagnosed. Jeff’s went undiagnosed for 7 hours, killing his chances by 56%!
Around 7, they admitted him in ICU and told me he would be there for three to five days. At 11, I noticed blemishes on his face and was looked at like I was stupid by the nurse. She said nothing. Around 1, I requested he be flown to St. Louis after the bleeding under the skin (purpura) took over his whole face. The last thing we said to each other was, “Do you want to be flown to St. Louis?” And Jeff said “Yes.”
It took five hours for the hospital to have him flown. In the truck, driving to St. Louis, I got a call on Jeff’s phone and it was St. Louis Hospital saying that he coded. I was completely shocked and called my Pastor to pray. I got another call from the hospital saying they got him back. I called my Pastor back crying and rejoicing.
We got to the hospital around 8 and was security escorted to his room in ICU. Shortly after, he coded the second time and I immediately fell to my knees and begged God to let me keep him, that our 9-month and 3-year-old babies needed him. That I needed him! God’s presence was so profound that I began loudly speaking in tongues and people were coming out of their rooms to see what was going on. They got him back again, but we were in the small waiting room when over the intercom, came Code Blue, 8C, Code Blue, 8C. I knew it was Jeff. Up to this point, I had no doubt my God was going to heal Jeff. But then everything changed. I heard God telling me, “Lisa, you have to let him go.” At that point, I stopped praying for God to let me keep him and I started praying for God’s will. A great peace and calmness gave me unbelievable strength as I walked to his room and placed my hand on the man’s hands that was performing CPR, silently telling him to stop. I had already told Jeff that it was OK, I would take care of the babies, to go home and be with his momma. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I repeated over and over again. His heartbeat never came back, he was already in the Glory of the Lord.
Saying goodbye was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but that was the easy part. Learning to live without him would prove to be far more difficult. Watching his babies grow and change without him here, reaching all the milestones, unimaginable pain! Our daughter has to live her life telling people that her Daddy died with she was 9 months old. Our son will not likely retain any memories of his father. Daddy will be here for nothing…sports games, school dances and graduations, weddings, births, NOTHING. Death is NOTHING like divorce, the love never ends. It may stop growing, but it NEVER ends. Forever my heart, forever remembered, forever missed, forever loved, I love you Jeffrey Ray Davis!
Jeff was loved by so many people, including his Aunt Mary who considered him her fourth son from her sister’s heart. His sister, Jennifer, and his brother, Joe. His Chili’s Grill & Bar family adored him; a number of employees would say he was their favorite manager. He poured himself into his job and always gave 110%. He truly brought calmness and laughter into every tough situation. God sure did gain an awesome Angel when He took him home. Until we see you again baby!
Jeff didn’t have a spleen and developed OPSI. (Sepsis and Impaired Immune System) Overwhelming post-splenectomy infection (OPSI) is a serious disease that can progress from a mild flu-like illness to fulminant sepsis in a short time period. Although relatively rare, it has a high mortality rate with delayed or inadequate treatment, and therefore, it is important for emergency physicians to be familiar with it. Patients who are asplenic or hyposplenic are at an increased risk for infection and death from encapsulated organisms and other dangerous pathogens. OPSI carries a 70% mortality rate.
The cause of sepsis was never found, the autopsy came back manner unknown with streptococcus pnemoniae sepsis as the resulting cause of death. We just celebrated Jeff’s 40th birthday three days before he died. Sepsis took his life less than 24 hours of having the first symptom, leaving me, a 35-year-old widow with four kids (two under the age of 3).
Four months after Jeff died, the local healthcare system (including 4+ hospitals) brought in a sepsis expert, Tom Ahrens, to attempt to educate the area nurses. I believe this was soley because of my husband’s death. I attended the forum and told my story. I spoke with Mr. Ahrens myself. A lawsuit has been filed and I am ready for justice! I’ve had about 20 shirts made up and our family plans to attend multiple public events to spread the word. I will fight to raise sepsis awareness so I can help save lives!