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Shaun Wertz

Survivor

My sepsis story begins in late February of 2019. As I was laid up in a hospital in south Florida recovering from a serious 3rd burn covering about 20% of my body. (Sepsis and Burns) I started to notice I was not only feeling the pain of the burn, but also starting to get bouts of fevers, and shakes. My shakes started to be constant and uncontrollable, and my fevers began to spike. My health care providers became increasingly more concerned as well as myself.

My doctors contacted the in-house intensivist who came up to see and speak with me in the burn ward. He began to tell me I was septic and that I was being moved to the ICU for more intensive treatment. I was scheduled for surgery the following morning to cover my wounds with a skin graft, and about that point my memory goes blank and I only remember tiny bits and pieces until I came too about a week later. Only accounts from loved ones, medical records, and my amazing army of health care providers tell the true devastation that septic shock had on my body.

After surgery my blood pressure began to drop. I had lost so much blood I needed several blood transfusions. My kidneys had failed, and I lost my ability to breathe on my own. They had to intubate me and put me in a medically induced coma for 6 days by dripping propofol into my system to keep me asleep so my body could heal. As well, they pumped vasopressors, antibiotics, and IV fluids through me to try and clean out my system from the infection. The only bits and pieces I remember during those 6 days were waking up with my hands tied to the bed rail because I was trying to pull the tube out of my throat because it felt like I was choking, but couldn’t. I remember being terrified because I had no idea what was going on, but only to succumb to the propofol and fall back to sleep. After that week in that terrible situation I finally came to, and began to find out exactly what happened to my body. I’m a testament to how devastating sepsis and septic shock can be to a human body. But more importantly how amazing my doctors and nurses were! They saved my life, and without their quick and decisive actions, I wouldn’t be here today to share my story. Quickness I’ve come to learn, is absolute and paramount to treating sepsis! Because it can go from bad to destructive in very little time if not noticed and treated quickly. My parting words are these. If you feel you may be septic you need to speak up and find help immediately, because if not it could be your last regret.

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