My sister Kay was a healthy 44 year old who enjoyed life to the full. She was always ‘the life and soul’ of the party and had an opinion on everything and everybody! In her younger years she lived life in the fast lane and really did party “like it was 1999!” She loved her holidays and the sunshine and lived abroad for several years.
Kay was a brilliant older sister, a fantastic daughter to my mum and dad and a lovely aunty to our sons, James and Henry. Kay helped so many people in so many different ways: she had a really kind heart.Kay died of Sepsis on 13th May, 2011 just a few months before her 45th birthday. She had tripped over in a supermarket on a piece of fruit just two weeks before, fracturing her patella. She was taken to hospital and underwent knee surgery to pin her knee back into place. The operation appeared to go well. She was in plaster from ankle to thigh and after a very short stay in hospital, she appeared to be recovering well at home.
However, things quickly changed. Kay suddenly became very unwell and unbeknown to us at the time, was suffering from Sepsis. She had flu like symptoms: she felt baking hot in herself but was cold and clammy to the touch. She had pain in her upper back and couldn’t lie down and was very swollen, particularly her stomach. He nails had started to blacken in the bases and she had short, quick breathing. She was lethargic and just not herself.
After a home GP visit, the doctor summoned an ambulance and she was transported to hospital. Sadly, Kay died in Accident and Emergency just 8 hours after arrival.
This was absolutely devastating and shocking for us all. How could this have happened? Returning home from the hospital in the small hours of the morning, our sons then awoke and we had to relay the terrible news about the aunty whom they loved so much. Our six year old asked, “But why did she die? She only broke her leg.” Why indeed. We had no answers but today, like so many other bereaved families and those who have survived from this terrible illness, we now understand that sepsis can happen to anybody at anytime and results from, seemingly, some very simple medical situations.
My sister wasn’t ill: she had simply had an operation. However, in the meantime, an unrecognised condition had spiralled out of control beyond the point of return. As a result of this a young and healthy woman died, leaving a family devastated forever…
Clare Jupp (sister)