Drive From Wheelchair customer Kim tells us about the signs of sepsis

Kim Smith, Sirus Drive From Wheelchair customer tells us about the signs of sepsis and what to do if you recognise symptoms.

“Hello, my name is Kim Smith. In November 2017 I was on holiday in Spain, I began to feel very unwell and had lots of pain in my left side around my kidney area.  I suspected a possible UTI that had possibly gone to my kidneys.

I went to the hospital thinking they would do more tests than the local doctor, sadly I don’t think the language barrier helped. I said in Spanish ‘pain here’ and pointed to the area, I realise now I was already very poorly.   They carried out an X-ray on my back then sent me away saying nothing is broken.

The following day I was feeling so unwell I got my husband to take me to the doctor. The doctor tested my urine gave me an injection and prescribed antibiotics. My husband went to the chemist to get the prescription but sadly they didn’t have any in stock. I woke at 4am I felt like I was going to die. I woke my husband and said I need to go to hospital now!

Sepsis diagnosis

I don’t remember much but he took me to hospital, I was admitted and put into an induced coma. I had sepsis, and I was seriously ill. After six weeks my daughter managed to get my travel insurance to fly me home by air ambulance, I was flown back to my local hospital in Milton Keynes and was in a coma for a further three weeks, for nine weeks my family had no idea if I would live or die.

Quadruple amputation

After I was brought round and stable enough I was moved to another ward, before being moved to Bedford Hospital. I was told I had to have all four limbs amputated because sadly they died, but I was ok with that I was alive and I’m a fighter!

I spent three months in Bedford Hospital before going to Queen Mary’s in Roehampton London, for rehabilitation. I had to learn how to sit up and move again, but I smashed it and finally got home.


My amputations were done on the 9th February 2018. I didn’t come home until June, so it’s been a long journey. But I’ve found ways to adapt, I style my own hair I use a hair brush with a strap on my wrist with my brush pushed through to hold it in place, I use a hairdryer brush to dry my hair, I was a hairdresser before I lost my limbs and I like to have my hair done and to feel “normal”.  I have a bionic myoelectric arm and prosthetic hooks but I don’t find them very good, I can do more with my stumps most of the time!

I look different but I’m still me, I get stared at whenever I go out, which I found extremely hard to cope with for a long time.

Sepsis symptoms

I can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone to know the symptoms to survive, because sadly medical professionals still miss it. If you don’t know the symptoms of sepsis please learn them because everyone can develop sepsis from any infection. Trust your gut instinct if you feel extremely unwell don’t be fobbed off.

With flu season, COVID-19, Strep A, and scarlet fever all being around at the moment we must be vigilant. Sepsis is a medical emergency that needs urgent treatment, failure to get the treatment causes death, so if you suspect sepsis go immediately to A&E or call 999.

Symptoms include;

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine in a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

sepsis trust

I now do a lot of hard work raising awareness of sepsis because it kills very quickly.  Five people die every hour in the UK, that’s 120 people today, 840 this week & 3600 this month! (Source – Sepsis Research). I volunteer for the charity Sepsis Trust raising awareness. When I get my Sirus car and get back behind the wheel I plan to do a lot more with the charity, including driving to events.

Inspirational Awards Nomination

For Kim’s wonderful work with various charities she has been nominated for the Milton Keynes Inspirational Awards. Kim has been nominated for three awards, ‘Inspirational role model’,  ‘Inspiring person within the disability community’ and ‘Inspiring volunteer’. If you would like to support Kim, please visit their website and complete this nomination form.

Kim is due to get her new Sirus Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle this spring! Watch this space. 

You can follow Kim’s journey on Facebook (Kim’s Chance),  Twitter (Kim’s Chance1), Instagram (Kim’s2ndChance),  & Tik tok (Kim’s2ndChance)

#sepsiskills #sepsisawareness