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(Septicaemia, blood poisoning)

John is a local resident from Birmingham, who works with our organisation as a patient partner/representative.

JohnOv3I had one momentary lapse in concentration!

There I was on a Thursday in late June happily boiling spuds for my daughter’s dinner, when the phone rang. I picked it up and in my customary way proceeded to have an animated conversation oblivious to everything around me.

A warm feeling started to climb up my back at which point I politely excused myself from the phone call saying “I will ring you back, I think I am on fire”. Now, this is the point for all the hindsight brigade to come out of the woodwork with a list of “what you should have done” or “if it had been me I would have”, all very well-meaning, but, you know, when an individual is enjoying a somewhat stressful moment, and are up to their neck in Alligators, its often hard to remember, that the objective was to drain the swamp.

So, rather than running like a human torch, through my kitchen, into my dining room, down the hall and into a cold shower, whilst burning my house to the ground, I chose instead to step outside and remove my burning shirt. Somewhat shaken, I returned back to the kitchen finished preparing my daughters dinner (which she thoroughly enjoyed), rang my friend back and suggested that they pop round and take me to Hospital. 

A&E reception were brilliant; within minutes I had been issued into a cubical for treatment. Apart from the pain, I was oblivious to the damage I had done. I had burnt my back from my bum to the top of my shoulders. The medical team patched me up and sent me on my way with pain killers and an appointment to return the following Tuesday!

I returned on Friday Morning and again on Friday afternoon both times to A&E to have my back re-dressed. The same process was repeated twice again on Saturday, but by Saturday evening I was on the slippery slope and feeling both poorly and totally disinterested in the world. I had asked my friend not to bother me until Sunday afternoon.

Fortunately, this was ignored; she came round late morning, found me still in bed barely conscious and in a very confused state with a temperature of 39.9 ºC. My friend with much protestation on my part told me to get dressed and off we went again to A&E.

This time the nice lady in reception just took one look and pointed straight to the inner sanctum. The medical team also just took one look then started to remove my dressings, recorded my temperature as 40.0 ºC+, I didn’t care, blood was taken, drips were inserted and a ECG monitor attached, staff started looking at one another and speaking in hushed tones among themselves and to my partner. “Sepsis”.

All I wanted was to go to sleep and for the pain to go. Not long after that two nice ambulance paramedics arrived to whisk me and all my attached paraphernalia off to The QE Major Burns Unit. (What a place, what a team of people, brilliant).

During the next seven days I began to recover. My arms and backs of hands took on the look of a pin cushion, my back was de-roofed (blisters popped) and scrubbed regularly each day, it also seemed like I was on an hourly, if not constant blood sampling programme, coupled with intravenous drips/antibiotic top ups, after discharge from the QE, a strong oral antibiotic treatment, continued for a further four weeks

The burns team treated my back, my body, my inner self and thanks to them I remained for the most part oblivious to my plight. Now all that is left is the physical healing and scar management which will take quite some time to fully recover, again I don’t care thankfully I am well and free of that insidious infection.

I have been more than lucky, not everyone is, if left to my own devices the outcome would probably not have been so good. Momentary lapses bring unsought and unimaginable consequences.

Make sure those around you, when you cannot, “Think Sepsis”, challenge the health professionals, “Do you think it just may be the start of Sepsis?” No harm will be done if you are wrong, irreparable harm can be done if Sepsis is not considered and treated FAST.

For more information about sepsis, visit: 

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