Published 19 July 2019
Cuddling his one-year-old son Payton is not something Adam Husk takes for granted, after a battle with sepsis left him so weak he couldn’t lift the tot.
But thanks to the care of staff from East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, he is regaining his strength and hopes to soon be back at work – just weeks after the infection almost cost him his life.
Adam, 37, who lives in Folkestone, spent three weeks in intensive care at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford after contracting sepsis, a condition where the body’s immune system overreacts to infection. It leads to damage to internal organs, and kills five people every hour in the UK.
The dad, who works as a service advisor for Volvo, is supporting the UK Sepsis Trust’s campaign to raise awareness. He joined Trust staff in wearing red on Tuesday for the charity’s Wear Red Day.
Adam said: “I was aware of sepsis because of my medical history but it’s something you assume will never happen to you.
“And even when it does, you think that once you leave hospital you’ll be fine. But I lost 13kg in hospital and had to work on building up my strength again as well as my weight.”
Adam was first admitted to hospital with stomach pains related to his Crohn’s disease – a condition affecting the bowel. Surgeons operated to remove a diseased part of the bowel but despite initially recovering well, Adam’s temperature suddenly went up and he began struggling to breathe.
Medical staff diagnosed sepsis and he was placed in an induced coma for five days as teams battled to save his life.
Adam said: “The surgery was the easy bit – it was what came after that was so difficult. I ended up with quite a few complications as well as the sepsis and had to have a breathing tube inserted into my windpipe for five days.
“It was definitely worse for my wife and family than for me, as at one point she asked if I would be coming home and they couldn’t guarantee it.
“When I did leave hospital, I was so weak I couldn’t even pick up my son, and I couldn’t walk up stairs. But thanks to the weekly sessions with the critical care follow up and rehabilitation team, as well as the great care from the staff in the intensive care department, I’ve been able to recover and now I’m hoping to get back to work soon.”
A quarter of all sepsis survivors suffer permanent, life-changing after effects, including physical and psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
The specialist follow-up team from the Trust hold weekly sessions for patients where they can build up their strength as well as meeting others and talking about their experiences.
Lucy Mummery, critical care outreach, follow-up and rehabilitation specialist nurse, said it was a great way to help patients achieve the best possible recovery.
She said: “We work with them to help them get their strength back, but the sessions are about more than that and a huge part is supporting them with their emotional recovery as well.
“The UK Sepsis Trust is a great resource and we often signpost patients to them, so we were pleased to be able to support Wear Red Day.”