Find out how Korina’s near death experience with sepsis led her to becoming a research advisor.
Korina was a happy healthy dedicated wife and mother to two young children, but when sepsis struck, everything changed
A week before her 28th birthday she went to the GP with what she thought was the flu. She was diagnosed with gastro and told to go home and get some rest. Her condition deteriorated overnight so the next morning her husband Daniel took her to the local hospital emergency department. From here things rapidly deteriorated.
Over the next couple of days doctors were frantically trying to keep her alive with all sorts of treatments and medications one of which (a blood plasma product) proved fatal on administration and Korina‘s heart stopped. Through sheer dedication of the team who worked tirelessly on her for over 40 minutes, she came back to life. However, this was only the first of many hurdles to come, with her vital organs shutting down and kidneys requiring dialysis, Korina was placed on life support for an extended period. As a result of her body’s inflammatory reaction and medications needed to save her vital organs, Korina’s extremities were starved of oxygen and blood, resulting in her becoming a quadruple amputee (bilateral below elbow, left above knee, right below knee).
After approximately five months in ICU, three months in a burns ward with extensive grafting and then three months in rehabilitation, Korina finally got to go home after a total of more than ten months in hospital. Korina and her family learned both through their experience and through her clinical team that there were research gaps in relation to sepsis treatments, especially regarding fluid resuscitation – the process of replacing lost fluids to ensure the body’s organs can still function properly. They learned that optimal fluid resuscitation in terms of the type, amount and timing of administration can significantly change outcomes for sepsis survivors.
Due to the critical nature of her illness and the crucial role fluid resuscitation played in her survival, Korina became actively involved in the ARISE Fluids study into fluid resuscitation of people presenting to the Emergency Department with sepsis. More recently Korina joined the PROGreSS long term sepsis outcomes study team. She is providing advice based on her lived experience on the study protocol and grant application particularly around meaningful survivor outcomes, how to best engage with other survivors and study follow-up strategies.
Korina hopes that through her unique contribution to research and clinical trials that one day better treatments for sepsis will be found.