Abigail Wardle kept his 11-month-old son Oliver in a hospital bed shortly after he came out of a coma when something shocking happened – Oliver's arms and legs self-amputated in Wardle's arms.
Oliver was originally sent to the emergency room when Wardle noticed that he would not eat and waved in pain, according to the UK-based publication Mirror. At the hospital, Wardle and her husband were told that Oliver might not survive because he suffered from sepsis or causal failure due to an undiagnosed and untreated throat infection.
"It wasn't until a nurse came to talk to us and burst into tears that I realized how serious it was," Wardle told the Mirror. "She told us: & # 39; We don't know which way it's going to go but it doesn't look good. & # 39;"
In some way, Oliver emerged from his coma and survived, but not before his limbs became detached from the body due to sepsis, which had led to cold deficiency, or tissue death.
Now Wardle Oliver shares the story in the hope that other parents may notice signs of sepsis in their toddlers before it's too late.
Toddlers are more likely to have sepsis than adults
Sepsis happens when a person's body has an extreme reaction to an infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Normally, when a person gets an infection, such as a throat infection in Oliver cases, the body releases chemicals to fight the infection. Sometimes, medications like antibiotics or antivirals can help fight it too, according to the Sepsis Alliance.
In some cases, however, the body's immune system is shut down after the chemicals are released and no longer fight against bacteria, fungi or other infectious agents. This is when sepsis can begin. Signs of the condition include difficulty in breathing, urination hardly at all or not at all, low blood pressure and mental changes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Although someone with an infection can potentially enter into sepsis, people with compromised or weaker immune systems are more likely to develop the condition. For example, pregnant women; the older; people with cancer, diabetes or lung disease; and children younger than 1
In severe cases such as Oliver's, sepsis can kill body tissue
Sepsis can vary from mild to severe, according to the Mayo Clinic, and these will allow mild sepsis to make a full recovery using antibiotics, IV fluids, and blood pressure medications. However, if sepsis becomes severe, it can lead to septic shock, where the body's cells do not function properly. In cases like these, people have a 40% chance of dying from the condition.
Septic shock severely reduces a person's blood flow, which in turn can shut down entire organs, including the brain. It can also cause gangrene, where the body's tissues die. This was the case for Oliver, whose limbs turned purple and green as less and less blood flowed to them. Although his mother urged doctors to surgically amputate the limbs, they waited and the limbs "died", causing them to amputate themselves.
Then the doctors cleaned the infected area and stitched it up again so that the wound could heal. Oliver, who was not affected by any brain damage, is also being fitted for prosthetic legs, Wardle says.
"Some people may feel sorry for us, but I feel like the happiest mom in the world," Wardle told the Mirror. "I still have Oliver with us. He may not have any hands or feet but he is still my smiley, brave little boy."
According to the Sepsis Alliance, the condition can be prevented by proper hygiene if a person has a wound that has the potential to become infected. Vaccinations can also prevent those who are susceptible to sepsis from getting sick in the first place. Hand washing is another preventive measure.
"Sepsis is a notoriously difficult condition to detect, and to do so relies on health care professionals to be aware of the possibility of sepsis in all patients with deterioration without a clear cause," Dr. Ron Daniels, CEO of UK Sepsis Trust told Mirror. "Results that Oliver can be prevented by better awareness of sepsis and by giving our public the right to just ask: & # 39; can it be sepsis? & # 39;"