A mum was left fighting for her life three times after contracting a deadly sepsis infection that she brushed off as menopause symptoms.
While taking her mother to hospital for an operation in November 2015, Jessica Middour, 46, suddenly started profusely sweating and being sick, but instantly dismissed it as a “hot flash” and “nerves”.
However, when the former bank worker from Waynesboro, in the US state of Pennsylvania, became faint she was rushed to the emergency room downstairs and told she had a urinary tract infection.
"[My mum’s] nurse noticed that I was sweating and looking unwell and told me to go to the emergency room downstairs, but I didn't listen until I tried to stand up and fell straight back down,” Ms Middour said.
But her instant relief quickly wore off as Ms Middour went into septic shock and began fighting for her life, hooked up to two different IV lines and enduring brain, liver and kidney scans.
Sepsis is a serious infection that causes your immune system to attack your body.
After one week in hospital, Ms Middour returned home and back to work before being struck by the same symptoms again just six months later.
Doctors determined she had contracted sepsis again, deriving from another UTI.
Ms Middour was struck with the deadly infection once more in January 2017.
"This time I said goodbye to my family because I was certain that I couldn't be lucky a third time, but somehow I was,” she said.
However, after saying goodbye to her family and believing there was no recovering this time, Ms Middour beat the odds and survived sepsis for the third time.
Now, she is sharing her story to encourage people to never brush off their symptoms and to ask doctors if it “could be sepsis” when they are receiving diagnosis.
"Every time it was as a result of a UTI – something which is so common in so many women,” she said.
Despite surviving the life-threatening condition three times, she admits that she suffers from “post-sepsis syndrome” still to this day.
"I have had to quit my job because the side effects of having sepsis three times are just too strong,” she said.
"I am constantly tired, I have constant joint pains, I've lost the feeling in my toes and I can't solve simple problems or tasks like I used to be able to.
"I could have very easily died all three times if I didn't recognise my sepsis sooner – thankfully I was in the right place at the right time when I was first diagnosed because if I was at home in bed, it would've been the end to my story.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.