Student nurse turned blue and vomited blood due to sepsis

Sepsis: Dr Chris reveals how to reduce risk of infection

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A student nurse has shared details of her symptoms after she almost died from sepsis – an extreme reaction to infection. Kristin Hamill, 25, became seriously ill with crippling stomach cramps in April last year. Just a couple of months later she started vomiting blood and her skin turned blue.

Kristin described the cramps as “the worst pain she ever experienced”.

Her GP asked for scans but the request was rejected, and by the time it was made again and was accepted, Kristin had been taken to the A&E at Inverclyde Royal Hospital.

“It was like severe cramps, not like period pain,” she said.

“It was like a stabbing feeling, it was the worst pain I have ever experienced.”

Following her sepsis diagnosis in June, Kristin’s family were told to say their goodbyes as medics feared she would not survive, and she was taken to the intensive care unit.

She then spent four and a half months in a high-dependency renal unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.

In October she was discharged but was told the day before her birthday in December that damage to her kidneys was irreversible.

The cause of sepsis is still unknown, and Kristin is now dependent on her boyfriend and mum to care for her and has dialysis three times a week.

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She begged strangers for a kidney donation on Facebook which was shared nearly 1,000 times.

Kristin, from Greenock, Inverclyde, described medics who treated her as “angels”.

She hopes to go back to her vocation when she is well enough, and around 400 people have filled in a form to be considered potential donors.

Kristin said: “It’s crazy, it feels like someone else’s story. I’m just desperate to be transplanted and back to that life.

“It’s amazing the number of people who came forward, everyone is so kind, doing something like that to help a stranger.

“Testing hasn’t started yet but they’ve started going through the forms to find out who was a possibility.

“The consultants want me transplanted within the year. It depends if I’m still stable and the other person’s condition.

“I have had lots of blood transfusions, I’ve got antibodies as well which makes it harder to find a match.

“They need to find someone who doesn’t have any underlying health conditions of their own.”

While waiting for the transplant, Kristin has dialysis three times a week, as well as the odd extra day if necessary.

Sepsis is a serious life-threatening emergency that occurs when an infection triggers a chain reaction throughout the body.

Symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe breathlessness
  • A high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
  • A change in mental state – like confusion or disorientation
  • Slurred speech
  • Cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Chills and shivering
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea.

Kristin is raising money for the departments at Inverclyde Royal Hospital that have looked after her. To donate visit

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