Thank you for saving my life – the heartfelt words of Sophie Charles, whose life was saved thanks to a quick-thinking paramedic.
The 23-year-old is slowly regaining her strength after suffering life-threatening sepsis.
Sophie’s mother, Julie, is still pinching herself that her daughter has survived.
The pair, from Thurmaston, have publicly thanked the paramedic who immediately spotted the seriousness of the situation.
They hope to meet up with her to thank her in person.
They are also planning to do all they can to raise awareness of the “silent killer”.
Sophie, from Thurmaston, believes she might not have survived if the East Midlands Ambulance Service (Emas) paramedic who saw her had not immediately spotted she had sepsis, often known as blood poisoning.
The drama began last Saturday, July 1, when Sophie began to feel unwell.
She said: “I began to feel very drowsy, sick and dizzy and at one point I felt so ill I did think I was going to die.
“I cannot thank the paramedic enough for saving my life and the Emas crew that came and got me to hospital.
“I am hoping to meet up with them so that I can thank them in person. They are my heroes.
“I also want to raise awareness of how deadly this condition is. I am very lucky to be here still.”
Mum Julie relived the horror of two days when the outcome could have been so different.
She is determined to help her daughter in the campaign to raise awareness of sepsis.
Julie said: “It all began on Saturday, July 1, when Sophie said she was feeling poorly with flu-type symptoms.
“She was feeling hot and cold and shivery and I suggested she take some paracetamol and if she wasn’t better we would contact our GP on Monday.”
However, the next day Sophie was still feeling unwell and as the day went on she began to feel very drowsy.
Julie said: “We still thought it was a flu like infection and you don’t really think you can go to A&E with flu.
Sepsis, bacteria in blood. 3D illustration showing rod-shaped bacteria in blood
“It was towards the evening when Sophie was still poorly and said she felt ‘really peculiar’ that I decided to ring the out-of-hours service.”
A short time later the service called Julie back and when she described how her daughter was feeling she was told a paramedic would come and check on Sophie
An Emas fast response paramedic was with the family within eight minutes.
She quickly realised the seriousness of the situation and called for an ambulance to take Sophie to Leicester Royal Infirmary’s emergency department.
Julie said: “When we got to the infirmary a team was waiting for her and at once they started treating her for sepsis.”
Sophie, who also has a heart condition, was given intravenous antibiotics and transferred to Glenfield Hospital.
She was discharged on Tuesday, July 4, and is now recovering at home.
Julie said: “It is just amazing that Sophie has survived this.
“I had no idea how serious it was and I wouldn’t have known what to look for to realise that it was sepsis.
New sepsis team at Leicester’s hospitals
“I feel so guilty that I had suggested we wait until Monday to see a doctor.
“Something just told me at the time that I should call the out of hours service and I am so glad that I did – the outcome could all have been so different.
“Everyone was brilliant and I can’t thank them enough for saving Sophie’s life.”
Julie, who is also Sophie’s carer, said her daughter was having further tests to try and find out where the infection had begun, but is recovering at home.
Russ Smalley, Emas ambulance operations manager in Leicestershire said: “It is great to hear Sophie is recovering well.
“Her family made the right call by seeking help which meant we were able to arrive within minutes and recognise the deadly blood poisoning.
“Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose and often patients do not realise they are suffering from the disease until it is too late.”
Mr Smalley said Emas had trained all frontline staff on how to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis and provided a clinical toolkit which lists key observations and markers to make it easier to recognise when a patient is septic.
He said: “We need our frontline crews to ‘think sepsis’ and are supporting their awareness and training by having a dedicated sepsis lead, a paramedic who has already done a brilliant job in creating a sepsis pocket guide with Leicester hospitals.”