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First of all this may seem a bizarre post. It has only recently struck me that I think I may have had sepsis almost 10 years ago but was never suspected or diagnosed of having it as far as I am aware.

This occurred 3 days after I had my first child via emergency cesarean section after being in labour with prolonged rupture of membranes for 37 hours.

My first symptom was intense shivering and feeling generally unwell. My temperature was raised and very quickly my respiratory rate began to rise. My heart rate was raised also but at the time was put down to the fact that I was anaemic with a HB of 7.6. My BP was raised, (not low) thought to be due to postnatal hypertension. 

Blood cultures came back normal but my CRP was raised,  this was put down to the fact I had recently had surgery. Lactate levels were not assessed to my knowledge.

My NEWS scores were 5/6, with ITU outreach nurses visiting every hour or so in the first couple of days. Initially a source of infection couldn't be found, and as I had reported an allergy to cefuroxime and cephalexin the microbiologist on call was contacted for further advice. I was then commenced on 3 different IV antibiotics,  perhaps he knew something was seriously wrong then but I was never made aware of any details.

I eventually was discharged from hospital 2 weeks after having given birth. A few days later I received documents from the hospital that I had had an intrauterine infection. 

I can say I have never been as unwell as I was during this time, I felt like I had been hit by a tank. I did not feel like myself again for at least 12 months after. 

The lethargy I felt in the first 4 months was immense, which I didnt get over for a long time. I would wake up as exhausted after a 10-12 hour sleep, as what I had the night before.

I had began breastfeeding but on day 3 my baby was bottle fed from then on as I felt so unwell. This gave me the opportunity to sleep as I had good support from family who helped to look after my baby. All I seemed able to do was sleep which I  felt so guilty about. I just put the lethargy down to having a new baby and it was what every new mum must have felt like, but I felt like the lethargy was the worst thing of all what I had experienced. I have had another child since and never experienced this with my second after her birth being very straightforward with no problems. 

Does anyone have any advice or words of wisdom as to whether my suspicions that I had sepsis ring true? And if so why was it never picked up?


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Hi Louise - an interesting question indeed- and thanks for sharing your experiences 

I’m no medical expert but I do know that it’s taken 10-12 years or more to get sepsis recognised as a factor in many illnesses. It was never widely recorded all those years ago and only now, the public and healthcare professions better understand the importance of sepsis in diagnosis and treatment. 

You may need a medical opinion based on symptoms you’ve described, to asses whether it “could have been” sepsis. If that is important to you perhaps give the UK Sepsis Trust a call and see if they can guide you on what steps to take next. 

As to why it wasn’t picked up, I’d say the medical profession has moved on a lot in the last 10 years re diagnosis and treatment - largely thanks to the UKST. There must have been tens of thousands over the decades that may have suffered and died of sepsis - whilst records will only show the primary cause - not the final cause.

Oh - and more importantly - Great to hear you have had a second child and all went well!!  

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