A dedicated school teacher went to bed with flu-like symptoms and eventually lost both her legs to sepsis.
Mother-of-two Julianna Bransden, 44, was leading a “happy and healthy life” until a sudden illness left her fighting for her life.
Ms Bransden first developed flu-like symptoms on New Year’s Eve, a few days after celebrating a big Christmas with her family. After going to bed to try to rest, her husband described her as “falling off a cliff”, deteriorating so much that her heart stopped.
“Julianna’s husband Tim called 911 and they told him to keep giving her paracetamol, but when she wasn’t better he called an ambulance,” Julianna’s mother, Linda Burgess, said. The independent.
“I actually lost my sister-in-law to something very similar, so we were well aware that people can get sick quite quickly.”
Ms Burgess said she had received an urgent call to look after her grandchildren, 14-year-old Emilia and 11-year-old William, while Tim was rushed to hospital with Julianna.
Once admitted, Julianna spent 18 days in a coma, with doctors working around the clock to treat her for septic shock, two cardiac arrests and multiple organ failure. She had developed sepsis due to an aggressive form of pneumonia brought on by the flu.
Julianna eventually came to, but the sepsis had caused severe damage to her hands and feet and both her legs had to be amputated.
“It was a total shock,” Ms Burgess said. “We never realized how much damage sepsis could cause and that it could be caused by the flu and Strep A. When you look back now, it all seems like a blur.”
Ms Burgess praised her daughter’s courage in the face of the “devastating” illness. She added that Julianna had “kept smiling every step of the way”.
“She has amazed all the medical staff because she has remained strong and resilient and accepted everything. She just smiles.”
Julianna is currently being treated at Withybush Hospital, having only left intensive care earlier this month.
“She could talk right away. She was very weak, you could almost hear her, but we were so relieved that she came out and was able to recognize us and communicate with us,” said Ms Burgess. The independent.
“It wasn’t until some time after she woke up that the extent of the sepsis was explained. We were devastated.
“Her hands were badly affected, but her feet were causing the problem and it would endanger all of her organs if we weren’t careful, so we made the wise decision to amputate, and once that source of infection was gone, she started retrieving .”
Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition caused by infection.
A sepsis infection can develop anywhere in the body and can occur as a result of a chest or urine infection, an abdominal problem — such as an ulcer — or even from cuts and bites.
It is caused by the way the body reacts to bacteria. The body’s response to an infection can damage its own tissues and organs. If left untreated, sepsis can lead to septic shock, multiple organ failure, and death.
According to The UK Sepsis Trust, the disease leads to 44,000 deaths in the UK each year.
Julianna’s husband, self-employed plumber Tim, has been unable to work since before Christmas and concentrates on supporting his two children and getting Julianna home.
Julianna’s family, including her parents and brother, who have stood by her since her illness hit, are now helping raise money to support Julianna’s recovery, which they hope will include prosthetics. A total of over £90,000 has been donated on the fundraising page in less than a week.
The family want to take Julianna home as soon as she is well enough, but have yet to get a date from the hospital as she is still receiving treatment and waiting for her hands to heal.
Ms Burgess said the family are so “overwhelmed” by the support they have received, not only financially for Julianna, but also in prayer. She said her daughter would like to raise awareness about the dangers of sepsis to help other people recognize the signs.