Bryan Health Second Sunday Report: Warning Signs of Sepsis- September 2017
Posted By: Bayley Bischof
April 28, 2017 is a day burned in Sherry Shafer’s mind.
"I had picked up food at the deli for lunch,” Shafer said. “Went home and me and my husband had lunch, and Keith left to run errands and I was still sitting at the table and I was freezing cold."
The Lincoln woman said she started shaking so badly she couldn’t stand so she went to bed, thinking it was food poisoning from lunch.
But the next morning she woke up feverish and confused.
After a trip to the emergency room, being admitted to the intensive care unit and dozens of tests, Shafer was diagnosed with sepsis.
"Sepsis is the body’s reaction to infection,” Dr. Alissa Clough, hospitalist for Bryan Health said. “So if you have an infection your body starts shutting down as it’s trying to fight it, it leads to organ failure and ultimately can lead to death."
Sepsis is commonly caused by any type of infection, and it can be very serious.
For Schafer, it was.
"We have two sons in Lincoln and one son in California, they said you better get your son in California here,” Shafer said.
The sepsis came from an infection in her gall bladder, but even after it was removed, the damage to her body was extensive.
"She had kidney failure and had to be on dialysis for several months,” Clough said.
Shafer was in the hospital for 34 days.
Clough said sepsis can be caught early, as long as you’re aware of the signs.
"We’ve done a really good job educating our patients about heart attacks and strokes, but we really need more information out there in regards to sepsis."
The symptoms of sepsis are shivering, shaking, chills, shortness of breath, confusion, fatigue, increased heart rate, poor color and achiness.
"If you have these warning signs you will want to seek medical attention or call 911,” Clough said.
She said the faster treatment is started the better the prognosis.