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Widow warns about the dangers of sepsis

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jun 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 09:36:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Sepsis is a deadly complication that kills thousands of Americans every year, but do many people know what it is or the signs that it has set in?

Lisa Bartlett lost her husband Jeff seven years ago from sepsis.

"He died 24 hours after the very first symptom of uncontrollable shaking," Bartlett said.

Doctors at the emergency room at Methodist Hospital say anyone can get an infection, and any infection can lead to sepsis. Therefore, in essence, anyone can get this condition.

"It promotes an inflammatory response throughout the whole body that makes you sicker than other infections," Dr. Katie Byrd, an IU Health resident physician, said.

Signs can include:

  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Confusion
  • Extreme pain

According to Bartlett, doctors misdiagnosed Jeff, thinking his symptoms were the flu. Jeff went into septic shock and passed away.

"It turned my whole world upside down," Bartlett said. "I mean, my everything was gone."

The big thing about sepsis is immediate care.

"The key to treating Sepsis is early recognition, first of all," Dr. Byrd said. "But also early antibiotics and early fluid for people who might not have enough."

Bartlett warns people about the dangers of sepsis because she wishes she knew about it when Jeff was alive.

"You have to do whatever you need to do, because, in hindsight, I would of fought a lot harder if I had the chance to do it all over again with Jeff," Bartlett said.

When it comes to sepsis, it's all about time. Watch for the temperature, infection, mental decline, and if somebody is extremely ill. At that point, contact 911 or talk to doctors and tell them you're concerned your loved one may have sepsis.

At Garfield Park Saturday, there will be a 5K in honor of Jeff and raising more awareness about this condition.

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