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Shawn M.

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Shawn started with dizziness, nausea and fatigue. His blood pressure soared to stroke levels, and his heart rate was nearly 100 bpm. I took him to the hospital because I thought he was having a stroke. While at the hospital they treated him for high blood pressure. When he wasn’t responding to the medication for dizziness and nausea, they sent him for a CAT scan and found that he had a very large abscess in his jaw. The ER doctor recommended that he have that taken out as soon as possible, and they sent him home with medications to address his symptoms.

The following day we had his tooth removed, and after that he started to fail fast. (Sepsis and Dental Health) Dizziness and nausea got worse, now add memory issues, diarrhea, still high blood pressure and high heart rate. On the 2nd day following his tooth being removed, he started to experience stomach pain. I took him to our PCP and we saw the nurse practitioner. We told her Shawn had not been able to eat or drink anything for the past three days, and I told her all the symptoms he was experiencing and said based on my research I thought he had sepsis. The NP dismissed the observations and said he did not have it because his BP would be going down, and he’d have a fever.

She palpitated his stomach and said she felt a hard spot and it felt like he had fluid in his stomach. She said he probably had an impaction. She took a CBC and his WBC was at 13,500, but she said she was not concerned. She failed to notice that there were several other codes that were outside the range and all of them pointed to an infection in his blood. She sent him home and said he needed to ‘try harder’ to eat or drink something because he was dehydrated. At home he tried again to eat or drink and it only lead to nausea and dry heaves. Throughout the night he suffered and was up dry heaving all night so that by morning he was in so much pain. So we took him back to the doctors and again saw the NP. She took another blood test and now his WBC was at 27,000! She said you need to take him to the hospital. When I asked if we should call an ambulance, she said “you are better off driving him”.

The hospital was one hour away. I asked if she could call the hospital and alert them of the situation and she said “No. I can’t”. So I drove him to the hospital and walked in cold turkey to again tell them all his symptoms. He was in very poor condition. The ER would not let me go back with him. When they finally did, I told everyone I could that I thought he had sepsis and why. They all ignored me and focused on the ‘hard spot’ and fluid in his stomach saying he had colitis. They admitted him and continued to focus on colitis. He was in severe pain. The nurse that was attending him in his room said the doctor would see him in the morning. All night they let him suffer – his stomach (it was later known) was filling with blood as he bled internally throughout the night. He died the following morning before any doctor saw him – except to try to save him when he went AFIB.

The diagnosis on his death certificate said pulmonary embolism, then sepsis. My husband, Shawn, did not have to die. I had given all the doctors the information they needed to diagnose him properly. Instead, they focused on the symptoms and not the cause. Shawn was 60 yrs old and in excellent health. We would have been married 35 years only 6 weeks after he passed. He left behind 2 beautiful grandchildren that miss him very much, ages 2 and 4, and he missed the birth of his 3rd grandchild. We miss him every moment of every day. Sepsis is a serious illness and has been around since the dawn of time. I do not understand why this is not so obvious.

Source: Donna M, Spouse

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