SEPSIS & Me by John Watson

It was Tuesday 3rd of April 2018, I was 73 years of age. I began to find it painful when passing urine so the following day I called my GP. She asked me to go in and see her at 12 noon. It was confirmed I had a urine infection and was prescribed a course of antibiotics, I was told to go home and rest in bed and also take the maximum Paracetamol dose and she would call me the next day.

At 8am the following day my GP did telephone to ask how I was, she was told by my wife I was in the Intensive Care Unit at the John Radcliffe in Oxford.

What had happened the previous evening?

At around 9 pm I was shaking so much I was unable to take my evening pills, I called my wife, Gill, who gave them to me, I then got back under the duvet and went to sleep. What happened next I do not remember. Gill was very worried about my condition, as I seemed to be very confused and started vomiting, so she called 111 for advice, within 20 minutes I was under the attendance of 3 paramedics, my blood pressure was dangerously low and still dropping, it was then they mentioned the word Septic shock.

I was stretchered into the ambulance and blue lighted to the A&E dept at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford some 15 miles away.  I started to come round as I was being taken to the ward, within minutes I was surrounded by doctors and nurses and it was confirmed I had Sepsis. I had  various pipes and tubes inserted to get my fluid level raised and blood tests were taken.

Early the following morning I was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the JR where the Doctors and Nurses were excellent. They had already received the results of the blood tests and knew what the Virus I had contracted was, they then inserted a tube into my neck to allow the antibiotics to enter my system quickly.

I spent 3 days in ICU and then moved to a ward, after another 2 days I was released from hospital and returned home very very weak.

I visited my GP a week later, she told me “You have been very ill. It could take some months to fully recover. I thanked her for prescribing the antibiotics so quickly as without them the Sepsis may have had a much more far reaching result on my future health.

In May I received a letter from the Sepsis Trust inviting me to attend a seminar in Oxford for Sepsis survivors and various NHS people. This was a very interesting event and taught me so much about Sepsis and the UK Sepsis Trust. I quickly realised I was very lucky as some Sepsis survivors can lose limbs and unfortunately many do not survive at all.

It was nearly 3 months before I felt I had the energy needed for everyday life but even then after an hour I had to sit down and rest, this went on for possibly another  2-3 months.

In September a Sepsis Support Group was set up in Oxford, there were around 15 at the first meeting including Sepsis specialists from the JR, this was a good opportunity for the Sepsis survivors to tell their stories. It was amazing to hear and made us realise how lucky we all were to have survived.

I feel I am very fortunate as it has only left me with a couple of problems that were discovered with all the blood tests. One is that I have a kidney stone, this is being monitored every 6 months by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. Secondly they told me my blood sugar count was high so I would be classed as diabetic. Now 2 years later with diet etc my count is down. Even now, two years later, there are odd times when I can feel fatigued for no reason and it seems that a lot of Sepsis survivors experience this.

I always tell people when visiting any doctors or nurses to ask if it could be Sepsis. It must always be of high concern.

I am a volunteer for the UK Sepsis Trust and have attended events to spread the word how serious Sepsis is. I have since learnt that a urinary tract infection UTI is one of the most common ways of developing Sepsis.


John Watson

Chairman MGB Register