Modern Medicine: Surviving Sepsis - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Modern Medicine: Surviving Sepsis

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Panama City, Fla. -

Imagine being healthy one week and near death the next.  That's what happened to Bernie Reams. 

Bernie says her sickness came out of nowhere and progressed quickly, almost to the point of death.  Now, she continues to progress and is educating others about sepsis.

"It can affect anybody.  You get a scrape on your arm...you fall...you're playing baseball, and you scrape yourself," Bernie told News 13. 

Her sickness began with an ear infection and progressed to septic shock.  It's a condition that occurs when toxins are created as the body tries to fight infection.

Gulf Coast Medical Center Chief of Medicine Dr. James Tackett says getting prompt treatment is crucial.

According to Dr. Tackett, "Your immune system kicks into overdrive.  It can start as something simple and spiral out of control."

Bernie was losing lung and kidney function and eventually lost blood to her fingertips and toes, leading to amputation.  However, the medical team saved her life.

"You put that whole picture together because the quicker you pick up on it...what we call early goal directed therapy...you can substantially decrease that mortality," said. Dr. Tackett.

Bernie still uses oxygen but can now walk on her own.  She hopes to plan a sepsis awareness run for next year to bring more awareness to the community. 

Medical experts say anyone is at risk for sepsis.  The best prevention is to wash your hands to eliminate germs and always see a doctor if you are not feeling well.