A WOMAN has spoken of how she almost died of life-threatening illness sepsis.

Julie Carman, from Kelbrook, contracted the illness after a cycling accident back in 2008, and needed an urgent operation to save her left leg.

The 64-year-old retired NHS pharmaceutical technician then told of how she spent a couple of months in hospital.

After being discharged from hospital, she was recovering at home but then began to feel unwell again.

She thought she had flu and dosed herself with paracetamol over the weekend thinking she was a bit run down.

However, by Monday she felt much worse and was taken to her surgery where she was diagnosed with cellulitis and was referred back to her hospital.

Sepsis is a violent immune response to an infection and can be life-threatening if not picked up early.

Mrs Carman said: “I was asked to go to A&E. Once there I was triaged and it was felt I had an infection but they were unclear whether the infection was in my leg or in my jaw.

“I had a number of injuries, fractures, and haematomas on my face, jaw, hips and legs, so I was passed between various departments and then sent to another hospital to get checked out by their Max/fax (maxillofacial) department.

“Although the need for antibiotics was mentioned on many occasions, none were given and I continued to deteriorate with a high temperature, rigours and vomiting. Eighteen hours after first presenting at my GP’s I was admitted to an emergency bed.

“Although I felt dreadful I enquired about the antibiotics as I had not been given any.

“They had not been written up so there was a further delay but eventually drips were put up and treatment started. After 10 days I was discharged on full bed rest and with my legs bandaged from ankle to thigh.

“A couple of days later the rigours started again so my husband took me back to the ward I had been discharged from a couple of days earlier but they said I needed to go to A&E. After a delay of approximately five hours I was seen, my legs were unwrapped and foul-smelling discharge poured from various crevices in my left leg.”

Mrs Carman then said she was seen by an orthopaedic surgeon and IV antibiotics were started.

She was then told she would need an urgent operation to remove the necrotic (decaying) muscle and to save her left leg.

She added: “The necrotic muscle was removed and after another 10 days in hospital I was discharged. It took me a long time to fully recover.”

Mrs Carman realises how lucky she is to be alive and is now a champion for the UK Sepsis Trust, raising awareness and fundraising for the charity.

She said: “Sepsis is serious; it can lead to organ failure and can be life threatening, but if it is caught early, the outlook is good for most patients.

“Sepsis requires early recognition and timely treatment.

“Treatment started one hour earlier can be the difference between life and death.

“Raising awareness, sharing information and increasing the knowledge of sepsis is the best way to help save people’s lives.”