September 19, 2014 1:02 pm

Saskatoon family warns of ‘terrifying’ sepsis condition

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Watch above: new website shows alarming sepsis statistics in hospitals across Canada

SASKATOON – A decade ago, Lani Bulmer was diagnosed with sepsis. She said it destroyed her life and the only thing that’s kept her going is her two daughters.

“That’s the reason why I get up and do things. The reason why I’m here,” she explained, crying.

She said every day is a painful struggle.

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“Her whole body is wrecked basically,” explained Bulmer’s mother Helena Harder.

“[She’s] unable to do her daily activities of living, unable to hardly go for a walk, drive a car, cook meals, clean her house,” said Harder.

In 2004, Bulmer went in for a routine endometrial ablation, a surgical procedure in the uterus that aims to reduce menstrual flow.

After the procedure, she said she experienced severe pain and was told to go home and sleep it off. She said the next day the pain became debilitating, but again, she was sent home.

“They said she came in pretending she was having pain so they would give her drugs,” Harder explained.

She said the experience was terrifying.

“The next day, she went back by ambulance, basically dying,” said Harder.

Bulmer said early detection could’ve saved her from the life of pain she lives now.

Sepsis begins when the body releases far more molecules than are needed to fight an infection. Eventually, they begin damaging vital organs.

Symptoms include a fever, a high heart rate, and difficulty breathing. A patient’s blood pressure can then drop dramatically as septic shock sets in.

“It’s preventable, and that’s the thing that we need to make sure we’re aware of. So sepsis is treatable and preventable if treated quickly,” explained Shelly McFadden with the Saskatoon Health Region.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports about one in three septic hospital patients die after their diagnosis.

CIHI Performance Director Kira Leeb said many hospitals are working hard to change that statistic.

“There are absolutely best practices within hospitals that they can implement to reduce these infections,” Leeb explained.

We know that some of the hospitals we’ve already been communicating with have already initiated some quality improvements.”

CIHI said reported sepsis rates in our province are currently among the lowest in the country; however, the institute expects rates to rise as more people become aware of the syndrome.

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