Stories of Sepsis - Shared by Survivors and Those Bereaved by Sepsis

This page is dedicated to the survivors of sepsis and those who lost a loved one due to sepsis. We thank them for sharing their very personal encounter with sepsis with all of us and for supporting World Sepsis Day and the global fight against sepsis. If you would like to share your story, please get in touch.


Caitlin Alsop

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I was the girl terrified of hospitals. It's ironic that; it was there, I faced the biggest fight of my life, met my true heroes and in nearly losing my tongue, gained a whole new voice and cause for something I previously knew nothing about…


Tom Ray

Tom lost his lower arms, lower legs, and half of his face when sepsis struck him out of the blue in December 1999. Nearly twenty years on, he considers the enduring impact of his life transformation…


Ellie Duncan

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Initially, I just thought I had an upset stomach, or some sort of bug as the vomiting stopped during the day. However, it had become the evening of the 14th when the vomiting started again, which kept me up all night. After a little bit of sleep I woke up on the morning of the 15th with an unusually sore lower right leg…


Kayleigh Ferguson-Walker

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It was during her sixth month of pregnancy that Kayleigh suddenly became ill one evening and had to be rushed to a local hospital. What transpired next would forever change her life and the lives of her family members and friends…


Sean Hughes

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In the morning of Friday January 12th 2018, we lost our amazing son Sean to sepsis. He was only 15 years old. Sean was a healthy young man with no underlying health issues. He was an up-and-coming rap artist who wrote and performed all his own material.

On Monday, January 8th, 2018, Sean came home from school and told his Mum he was not feeling too well. He was displaying flu-like symptoms, which were similar to those of a chest infection…


Michael Porter


It was Christmas Eve, 2015 and I had some spare time and a chance to knock another job off my to-do list. The garden gate was not closing correctly, so I went out and spent an hour getting it fixed. It was the last DIY job I ever did with two hands. I scraped my hand on a nail and got a minor cut which bled and was washed out but was really just a minor nick, that people working with their hands probably get on a daily basis…


Verna Marzo


I was rushed to emergency early morning and had an emergency hysterectomy in the evening. The next morning, my large intestine was removed and the doctors informed my sister Debie that I only had a 10% chance to survive. This was reduced to 2% the following day. I was on life support. Doctors thought I would’t make it. I'd been diagnosed with septic shock…


Lucy Ellis


After a weekend of flu-like symptoms in May 2018, Lucy was referred to the hospital on a Monday morning. She was treated for 12 hours for chest pains and breathing difficulties, but with no diagnosis. Following numerous blood tests and X-rays, she had mottling in her legs. Eventually, a CT scan showed fluid around her heart.

Before we knew it, Lucy was rushed to an operating room and had the fluid drained. For a brief moment, she was stable and without pain. But within an hour, she had to be put into an induced coma while they tried to find the cause of what they believed to be sepsis. We had no idea of how serious sepsis could be until this point…


Mia Wilkinson


Last year, Mia was a typical 4-year old girl attending Kindergarten, going to swimming practices, and taking gymnastics lessons. Besides colds and occasional bouts of gastro, our family was rarely ill. However, on October 15th, 2017, our lovely girl went from a perfectly happy, active, cheeky, and healthy little girl to critically-ill and in intensive care.

Initially, Mia presented with symptoms of gastro, including vomiting, diarrhea, high temperature, and lethargy on Friday evening. On Saturday morning at a doctor's visit...


Fiona Gray

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In the early hours of July 12th, 2015, I was settling our daughter after she’d woken. As I left her room I banged my elbow quite hard but gave it a rub and went back to bed. An hour or so later, I awoke to golf ball size swelling on my elbow and extreme pain but no wound. Within two hours I was shivering uncontrollably and rocking back and forth screaming for my husband to take me to hospital. It was very early on a Sunday morning and my husband was barely awake as he got our ten-month-old daughter ready and helped me dress. I felt sicker than I’d ever felt before...


Sonia Adrissi

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I had picked my daughter up from school and the pain had slowly worsened throughout the afternoon. I’d been invited to lunch with a new friend and I just couldn’t sit comfortably thinking I must have hurt my back due to the sudden, uncomfortable back pain. Arriving home with my daughter, I was overtaken by an overwhelming feeling of being so very unwell, feverish and struggling to function.  I had to lay down, thinking if I did I would feel better, leaving my daughter doing her schoolwork after I had attempted to prepare a quick dinner for her (and subsequently burning it!) and as the evening progressed, I eventually realized that I seriously needed to get help as I lay there in bed shivering violently...


Maddy Jones


On a Thursday afternoon, after spending a few days on the Sunshine Coast with her boyfriend and his family, she came home feeling quite ill and told us that she felt like she was getting the flu. Her Step Mum, promptly gave her some Ibuprofen and water and told her to rest.

Maddy’s Dad took her to a GP the following morning (Friday). She was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and told to keep her fluids up, take over the counter cold and flu medication and rest. The next day, Saturday evening, Maddy was feeling worse, she was complaining that she was short of breath, so her Mother took her to the hospital where she was told she was dehydrated, given fluids, and sent home to rest...


Thomas Gatley


The evening before this catastrophic event, Tom did seem a little ratty and restless. He played a little on the kitchen counter next to me as I cooked supper and seemed to take an enjoyment in throwing pieces of dried spaghetti on the floor and waiting to see my reaction.  He did not want to eat, as much as we tried to encourage him.  He seemed clumsy almost, he hit his head on the dinner table as he struggled to get off my knee.

“He’s coming down with something”, we thought. “Either that or he’s teething”. He settled down to bed with a bottle and a cuddle. There was no fever at that point in the evening. No other signs of anything being seriously wrong. It was after midnight that he awoke with a raging temperature and I was ready for it with suppositories and neurofen...


Sue & Jay Stull


After a family day that included the movies, dinner, and frozen yogurt, Sue started feeling ill with fever and chills and overall body pain, primarily in her neck and throat. Since her symptoms hadn’t subsided, we went to the emergency room in the very early morning hours of August 8th.

On this initial visit to the ER, Sue presented with a high heart rate, low blood pressure, low urine output, slight dehydration, and rated her pain a 9 out of 10. She was tested for strep throat and when the rapid strep test came back negative, the ER doctor diagnosed her with a viral infection, said she would feel worse before she felt better, and prescribed cough syrup with codeine. We didn’t know it at the time, but Sue’s vital signs were critical red flags that she was very ill, but the doctor failed to recognize and act on them...


Mac Horsburgh


In April 2016, I had a life threatening and life changing experience as a result of an infection in my index finger. One week previously I had seen a physician who diagnosed a Cellulitis infection on my finger and prescribed an antibiotic to treat it. Unfortunately for me, this physician did not give me any information about what I should do if the antibiotic he prescribed was not successful in treating this infection. To make a long story short a week later I collapsed at home and was rushed to the hospital with a ruptured abdominal aneurysm and in septic shock. I survived an event with a higher than 90% fatality rate...


More stories are coming soon - we expect to publish a new one every 5 to 7 weeks. After all, there are plenty to choose from, with more being 'created' every day than we could ever share. If you want to share your personal sepsis story, please get in touch

The Global Sepsis Alliance, initiator of World Sepsis Day and World Sepsis Congress, continues to being committed to raise awareness of sepsis worldwide, as well as to work with international stakeholders to implement the demands of the WHO Resolution on Sepsis. For that, we depend on your support - you can help make a difference!


What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide. It affects 30 million people worldwide every year, 6 to 9 million die. Many surviving patients suffer from the consequences for the rest of their lives. For World Sepsis Day 2017, we made a short video explaining sepsis in 3 minutes, including sepsis signs, symptoms, consequences, risk groups, and how it can be prevented.

Besides English, the video is available in Spanish, Portuguese, FrenchItalian, Turkish, and German (YouTube links).


Learn Even More About Sepsis