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Jennifer Whitton


In February of 2017, I was a busy single mom to a 12-month-old son, working full time as a social worker. I had been feeling run down for about a week. I left work early on a Tuesday morning with a fever and feeling run down. I assumed I had the flu. I remember putting my baby to bed and going to bed. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night. I was shivering and confused. I called my mother and asked her to come watch my son so I could sleep in. When she arrived, my temperature was above 104. I wanted to go back to sleep but she convinced me to go to the ER. The ER admitted me pretty quickly because I was tachycardic and my pulse oxygen was in the 70s.

They moved me to a room while they ran additional tests. I remember a doctor coming in and telling me I was going to be airlifted to a hospital with more resources. I was scared and confused and refused. The doctor went on to tell me that if I didn’t go, I would die. My lactic acid was a 7.8. He told me he had never seen one so high and that he ran the test three times to confirm the results. He explained that the results along with symptoms meant one thing—sepsis. On the way to the bigger hospital, I went into shock. The next 3 weeks were a blur. I don’t remember a lot.

I do remember not being able to breathe. I also remember the doctor telling my father that I may not survive because I wasn’t responding to antibiotics. An infectious disease doctor was called and I was diagnosed with MRSA pneumonia, respiratory failure and severe sepsis. (Sepsis and MRSA, Sepsis and Pneumonia)

I spent 2.5 weeks in ICU. I was not allowed to see my son. I remember bits and pieces. After three weeks, I was allowed to come home with a PICC line and home healthcare.

It’s been a year since then and I still don’t sleep well. I’m tired most of the time. My immune system has been affected. I spent another week in ICU last month for pneumonia and mild sepsis.

I was a healthy, normal 30-year-old when sepsis struck. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

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