Sepsis didn’t claim Corinne’s life – but she lost her hands and legs

Corinne Hutton during her fight for life after contracting sepsis '  an illness that kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined.
Corinne Hutton during her fight for life after contracting sepsis ' an illness that kills more people than breast and prostate cancers combined.

When Corinne Hutton’s cough hadn’t cleared after a couple of weeks, she’d had enough, so she went to see her GP.

She was prescribed antibiotics, but the next morning she was sick all over her bedroom – and there was a lot of blood in it.

One of Corinne's feet, which she had to have amputated.

One of Corinne's feet, which she had to have amputated.

A call to NHS24 led to her seeing a doctor again. She collapsed in the surgery and the next thing she remembers is waking up with medics all around her. Acute Pneumonia, flooded lungs and a Streptococcal virus had caused sepsis, and had less than a five per cent chance of surviving. 

But with the full might of the Hutton family in “there-must-be-a-way” battle mode, doctors couldn’t give up!

Against their expectations, she survived the night. One doctor then suggested they could try ECMO, and called to see if she was eligible. This machine – ‘Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation’ – does the work of the lungs and oxygenates the blood outside the body whilst chilling it to bring down body temperature.

The ECMO team was in Leicester, and they fly a crew up to see her. Corinne stats were so poor, it was though she was almost certainly going to die, but as the team was returning to Leicester anyway, they decided there was nothing to lose in taking her.

As the priority was her vital organs, doctors warned that her extremities may suffer loss of circulation, and her hands and feet had started to turn blue and black. But she was alive. She spent two weeks in Leicester until she was stable enough to return intensive care in hospital closer to home. Further care and medical support followed and she made a miraculous recovery – but her legs and hands couldn’t be save and had to be amputated.

Corinne – mum to four-year-old Rory – might be considered fortunate to be alive.

Every four hours, someone in Scotland dies of sepsis. This week, a campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis.

Time is critical when it comes to treating sepsis and every hour counts. If you suspect sepsis, call NHS24 on 111. If you or someone you care about has a rapid progression of symptoms call 999.

Symptoms of sepsis include:

• Very high or low temperature;

• Uncontrolled shivering;

• Confusion;

• Cold or blotchy hands and feet;

• Not passing as much urine as normal.

On their own, these symptoms can be indicators of other health problems, but a combination of these symptoms becoming progessively worse means it is important to speak with a medical professional.