A UK mother was left fighting for her life, and lost part of an ear, after she contracted sepsis during childbirth — but a midwife told her she probably had the flu.
Shelly Young, 33, of Thatcham, gave birth to her son Maxwell on Nov. 13, 2019, and underwent surgery to remove her stuck placenta before being sent home the following day, South West News Service reported.
Three days later, Young told a midwife at her home that she was in intense pain and was struggling to walk.
She was shaking violently, had a high temperature and was very confused, all signs of sepsis, according to a report by the National Health Service. She also had slurred speech, muscle pain, severe breathlessness and mottled skin.
But the health worker said the distressed mother “probably had the flu,” according to SWNS.
“What should have been a happy time for me and Kyle has been totally overshadowed by everything that happened to me,” Young said, referring to her husband.
“It should have been such a special and precious time getting to bond with Maxwell. Instead I was in a coma in intensive care fighting for my life. I can only imagine the pain Kyle and the rest of my family were going through at that time,” she said.
“While it’s nearly two years ago I continue to be very upset and traumatized by what happened. It’s still hard not to get angry and emotional,” Young continued.
“However, in a way I know I’m lucky as I’m still here with my family and things could have worked out very differently,” she added. “Sepsis is an absolutely horrendous condition and more has to be done to raise awareness of how dangerous it is. I just hope that by speaking out I can help others.”
Young was readmitted to Royal Berkshire Hospital, placed in an induced coma and underwent additional emergency surgery to remove an ovarian abscess believed to be the source of her infection.
Making matters worse, she didn’t receive antibiotics for seven hours even though her doctor cited signs of sepsis.
The mom spent 11 days in intensive care, where she also lost part of her left ear after developing a pressure sore from an oxygen clip, SWNS said.
Young — who has three other kids, Olivia, Freddie and Alexander — said she now suffers with constant pain, muscle spasms and weakness. She also has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, post-intensive care syndrome and post-sepsis syndrome.
Young said the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, must learn a lesson and she has sought legal advice.
“The first-hand account we’ve heard from Shelly and the issues identified in the Trust’s report are extremely worrying,” Emily Mansfield, the medical negligence expert representing Young, told SWNS.
“They indicate that more still needs to be done to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis. While incredibly dangerous, early diagnosis and treatment are key to beating it,” she said.
“While nothing can make up for her ordeal Shelly hopes she can help make others aware of the signs of sepsis by sharing her story,” Mansfield added. “We welcome the Trust’s pledge to learn lessons from what happened to Shelly. It’s vital that these are now upheld to improve patient safety.”