Super-fit gran’s sepsis warning after fighting for life in hospital following bout of the ‘flu’

By Staff 6 Min Read

A superfit gran who was nearly killed by a deadly illness she thought was just flu has issued a warning for the tell-tale signs.

Dee Thomas was left fighting for her life and needed open heart surgery from a serious sepsis infection. The 65-year-old from Perthshire became critically ill when the infection began attacking her heart and spine in April last year. The fitness fanatic had been climbing a hill on a hike and was initially feeling great – stopping to take a selfie on top. But bending down to tie her laces she was overcome with feeling unwell.

Her only symptoms at first, she said, were tiredness and aching, before her health down-spiralled. “I went to bed with paracetamol that night, but by the next morning I was no better,” Dee said. “My husband Ian told me I looked terrible and I was grey in colour. I was going hot and cold but had no temperature. Later that evening, I told my husband to call an ambulance. I just had this very strange feeling that I needed to be checked.”

“The paramedics came and my blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels were all normal, but they asked if I wanted to go to hospital.” Dee’s blood tests showed signs of a rapidly increasing infection, and she was bluelighted to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from Perth where doctors carried out emergency surgery to replace a valve. I was shocked at the speed the infection had taken hold,” she told the Daily Record. “I went from coming down with normal flu symptoms to almost losing my life in a matter of hours. I think doctors thought I was a goner at one point and told my family that things were not looking very good.”

Dee was put in intensive care and moved to a high dependency ward, spending altogether a month in hospital. She added: “Doctors told me that I had been very unlucky and probably got a germ from a little nick but they can’t be for certain where the infection came from. I feel incredibly lucky that I’m still here. Many people don’t make it or the infection is too far gone to treat. I would tell anyone who ever has concerns about their symptoms to call an ambulance. I probably saved myself when I decided I need to do that.”

Dee’s recent ordeal hasn’t dampened her love of the outdoors and she’s now planning the ultimate human challenge next month – climbing Mount Everest to raise money for a sespis research charity. Colin Graham, COO at Sepsis Research FEAT, said: “Sepsis is an indiscriminate, devastating illness which takes the lives of around 50,000 people every year in the UK.”

“Despite these shocking figures, many people are still unaware of how serious sepsis is. That is why raising awareness of this deadly condition is vital, so that more people are able to recognise the symptoms and act quickly to seek urgent medical attention and improve chances of survival.”

Share This Article
Leave a comment