An Arbroath woman says she “really feels lucky” after surviving three days on her kitchen floor after being struck down with sepsis.
Frances Andrew told of the horrific experience which happened after a trip to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
She’d been at a routine appointment to have a dressing on her ankle changed.
But little did she know in the space of hours, she’d be passed out at home where she would remain all weekend.
Miraculously, after lying unconscious on the floor from Friday evening to Monday, Frances found the strength to reach her community alarm.
And now she’s speaking out to warn others of the dangers of the condition which can strike terrifyingly quickly.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection spirals rapidly out of control, injuring its own tissues and organs, which can result in multiple organ failure and death.
More than 3,500 confirmed cases of sepsis were recorded in NHS Tayside hospitals over the past five years.
Frances, 80, says: “I was quite surprised it was so common because before I was affected I’d never heard of it.
“I think it should be more publicised it’s very dangerous if you don’t know about it, people should be more aware of it.
In cases of severe sepsis (sepsis shock) signs can include nausea, slurred speech or loss of consciousness as well as the above symptoms. Hospital admission is likely.
If detected early, it can be treated through a dose of antibiotics. Patients often recover with no lasting after effects.
‘I woke up on the floor’
Frances had been at Ninewells on a Friday afternoon in May and returned home to Andy Stewart Court that same day.
She explained: “They were putting a new dressing on as I’d had a skin graft near my ankle.
“I was brought home by ambulance and I remember getting to my door, because the girls from the ambulance made sure I got to the door OK.
After that, I just can’t remember anything.
“I must have gone into the kitchen and passed out, it’s really so weird that part of my life is gone.
“I woke up the next day and was in the kitchen, lying on the floor jammed between the tumble drier and a box.
“I tried to get up and couldn’t get on my feet, it was very frightening.
“I crawled through to the living room, but couldn’t think and didn’t know what to do.
“Then I just lay there and must have passed out again.”
‘I had been lying there for three days’
Frances, who came to again on the Monday morning, continues: “I have a community alarm which I hadn’t taken with me to Ninewells. I woke up and remembered it was on my walker.
“I managed to get hold of it and pressed it – but at that point I couldn’t remember what day it was! I didn’t realise it, but I’d been lying on the floor for three days.
“When I pressed my alarm, they got in touch and were round in no time. It was such a relief when they got to me.
“I was disorientated and couldn’t understand what they were saying, but they took me in an ambulance to Ninewells.
“The funny thing is I can’t remember much about it at all – what ward I was in or anything at that point.”
‘You’ve had sepsis’
Following treatment with antibiotics at Ninewells, Francis moved to Arbroath Infirmary to recuperate.
“When they told me “you’ve had sepsis” I didn’t know what they were speaking about and didn’t know what it was.
“I was in hospital a while, I even spent my 80th birthday there. It was two weeks before I got home.
“When I found out more about the condition and heard that not many people survive it, I knew I had to speak out to raise awareness.
“I really feel lucky as it all happened so quickly.”