Sara Porter had it all. She was a successful TV producer, and had just given birth to her 3rd child. Sadly, what was to be one of the happiest moments of her life turned into a tragedy.
Following the birth of her 3rd child Sara Porter experienced something unlike her previous two deliveries. She was vomiting and had stomach pain which eventually spread to her back. It wasn’t until her organs began to malfunction that a uterine bacterial infection was found. Sara’s heart stopped, just five days after delivering her baby son Jonas.
Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. It is difficult to predict, diagnose, and treat.
Gram-negative bacterial infections are particularly associated with the urinary tract. Acute pyelonephritis should be treated aggressively.Although not all women may warrant hospital admission, those with signs of sepsis, those who are unable to remain hydrated and those who are vomiting should be admitted.
Definitive diagnosis of sepsis depends on a positive blood culture for an infectious agent and at least two of the criteria. However, other helpful tests depend on lab analysis such as white blood cell examinations, procalcitonin levels, and PaCO2. These tests, like blood cultures, are measured in clinical laboratories.
Identification of urinary sepsis is primarily clinical but the presence of leucocytes, protein and blood in a mid- stream specimen of urine may be suggestive of current infection and a specimen should be sent for culture.
According to The Sepsis Alliance detecting an infection in women post childbirth is challenging. Many of the symptoms associated with this are synonymous with symptoms that would normally occur post-delivery; rapid heartbeat, changes in blood pressure, dizziness and frequency to urinate. However, in this case, Sara was vomiting and had belly pain. These are signs and symptoms of a UTI, and medical professionals must always try to rule out or diagnose the WORST FIRST.
Dr. Andy W. Wong reported that 94% of postpartum infections are diagnosed after women are discharged from the hospital. Porter’s husband insisted his wife not be discharged from the hospital based on her symptoms, yet her infection still was not diagnosed in time.
Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to her husband Dominic, and her three young boys Mateo, Luca, and Jonas.