Today – Wednesday, September 13 – marks World Sepsis Day. Beginning in 2012 by the Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA), the day presents an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against and provide awareness for the number one preventable cause of death worldwide.
Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening toxic response to infection that can lead to further issues such as tissue damage, organ failure, and in severe cases, death. It requires rapid diagnosis and treatment and can lead to severe sepsis or septic shock.
The Lines family from Broken Hill unfortunately know sepsis all too well, where Jess and Sam’s youngest son, now-19-month-old Ryan, had a Strep A infection develop into severe septic shock. It resulted in blood oxygen rushing to his major organs hoping to repair them. However, his limbs suffered and needed surgery to have both of his lower legs, fingertips, and some fingers amputated.
Jess, Ryan’s mother, says for all her family has been through, she wants the public to learn what sepsis is and recognise the main signs and symptoms, to better understand the urgency of requiring early detection and treatment.
“In reality, anyone can get sepsis. It is a medical emergency, so you really need to get treatment as fast as possible,” she said.
“I guess I thought I knew what sepsis was, but I didn’t know how extreme it can be and what it can actually do to your body. I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”
The main symptoms of sepsis to look out for include:
- High or low temperature,
- Any signs and symptoms of an infection,
- Mental decline (confusion, sleepy, lethargic), and
- Extreme illness (severe pain and discomfort, shortness of breath)
“I really feel if you can get treatment quickly and properly that you can fight sepsis and beat it. It is preventable if you get the right treatment and diagnosed quickly,” she continued. The biggest thing is trusting your gut instincts. If you don’t feel like something’s right, then it’s probably not,” Jess continued.
“We’re lucky that we’re still here I guess, and there’ll be a forever journey, but hopefully if someone knows about Ryan and his story, if they ever get the signs or symptoms, they’ll know to ask the right questions.
“I think he’s definitely going to change the world for some people, that’s for sure – he probably already has – and we thank the whole community for their ongoing love and support.”