Untreated bacterial infections are highly dangerous. An untreated wound, however small it may be, can go from a minor issue to deadly if you are not careful. This is because bacterial infections can cause something known as sepsis, an extreme immune response to an infection. This mother of two is now just happy to be alive due to sepsis from a gnat bite she got over a decade ago.
Mother of Two Lucky To Be Alive After Duel With Sepsis
Thirteen years ago, 40-year-old Jorja Austin was mowing the lawn at her home in Basildon, Essex, in the UK, when a gnat bit her on the ankle. That gnat bite never properly healed. Since then, she has endured horrible health problems. She contracted a rare skin condition called pyoderma gangrenosum, which causes extraordinarily painful ulcers if left untreated. Her health prevented her from working for the past 10 years and even forced her to have to give up her two sons, as she was unable to take care of and provide for them. Then, 13 years later, this condition led to the development of sepsis. This sepsis nearly took her life, and she narrowly escaped double amputation. (1)
A Happy Ending To What Could Have Been A Very Tragic Story
Jorja says that the bite she sustained left her with a wound that never really healed. She went to the doctor’s about it, where they told her that the bites were fine and nothing to worry about. Anything but fine, the wounds kept growing bigger and getting worse. Two years later, they finally diagnosed her with pyoderma gangrenosum shortly before it migrated to her other leg. After ten years of suffering, she finally developed sepsis.
“I’ve had no life and been in agony for 13 years. I lost both my little boys due to my bad health. It got out of control,” Jorja said. “I was put into a coma in May because I couldn’t breathe from the sepsis. My family were told to say their goodbyes.”
Jorja continues, saying she didn’t get the help she truly needed all those years ago. She says she knows now that she should have been firmer with the doctors and advocated more for her health. Had this been taken care of from the start, none of this would have ever happened.
“I didn’t get the right help at the right time. You have to keep going back, again and again, to fight for the right treatment, or you’ll end up nearly dead like me,” she warns others. “Don’t leave it to get as bad as I did.”
Despite being so close to death and being told that a double leg amputation was likely, Jorja has miraculously walked away from the hospital and is on the way to healing. She re-learned how to walk, and one of the ulcers is already 50% healed. She credits her recovery to the hard-working community nurses who have been at her house every day for three months treating her ulcers. Able to enjoy Christmas at home with her family, she is now hoping that she will be able to finally return to normal life and get her boys back, now ages 13 and 17.
Read: 9 Signs Your Body Sends You When Something May Be Wrong
What Is Sepsis?
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to infection. It happens when an infection you already have triggers a reaction throughout your body. When you experience an infection, your immune system responds by releasing proteins and other chemicals to fight it. Sepsis occurs when this response gets out of control, triggering extensive inflammation. Severe sepsis reactions can lead to something called septic shock, which causes an extreme drop in blood pressure leading to organ failure, widespread tissue damage, and potential death. (2, 3)
Most sepsis infections are from bacterial infections. However, they can be caused by viral infections, as well. Symptoms of a sepsis infection include:
- High heart rate or weak pulse
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
If you think you or a loved one might have sepsis, you must seek medical care immediately. Often, the time between sepsis and septic shock is not long. Pneumonia, abdominal infections, kidney infections, and blood poisoning can all lead to sepsis. Don’t wait and act quickly to avoid tragedy.
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- “Mother nearly dies after 13-year-old bite turns into sepsis.” Independent. Debbie Luxon. December 22, 2022.
- “What is Sepsis?” CDC
- “Sepsis Symptoms, Causes and Recovery.” Healthline. Krista O’Connell and Carly Vandergriendt. January 4, 2022.