LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Sepsis is a very scary diagnosis that can be life threatening in an instant, shutting down every organ. It kills more than 250 thousand Americans every year, according to the group, Sepsis Alliance. September is “Sepsis Awareness Month”, a good time to look back at a high profile, devastating case in Lubbock earlier this year. You may remember the story of Lucretia McCutcheon of Lubock. After a flu like illness with unexplained fevers, she was rushed to University Medical Center on January 6th of this year. That's when doctors learned that she had developed pneumonia which turned into Sepsis. That out-of-control infection was threatening all her organs. She was brought to UMC in a coma.
Dr John Griswold, a surgeon and Texas Tech Physician, was aware of her illness at the time and was consulted in the case. He says Lucretia was an example of the one in five cases in which the patient is generally a healthy person, but develops sepsis. Unfortunately, amputation was the only way to save her life. He says, "In Miss McCutcheon’s situation, there were several things that came together that made this outcome so sad. And she lost her hands and feet. If a patient, or person or family can recognize the problem and get to the hospital quickly, that’s the start of beating sepsis. This is in the bucket of ‘better to be safe than sorry’. Don’t think it will probably get better. It’s just a cold. It’s just the flu, an intestinal infection. If it’s not getting better, not progressing the way it should, and you feel like something is wrong,
go to the hospital and let us check the patient out."
Dr. Griswold says young children, the elderly and people with a compromised immune system are particularly at risk. However, for one in five people with sepsis, like Lucretia, the patient is normally very healthy.
Watch the full interview with Dr. John Griswold for more on Sepsis.
Tomorrow, we’ll post an update on Lucretia and what her life is like now, 8 months after Sepsis and the loss of her arms and feet.