Sepsis almost killed BBC presenter
Sarah McMullan got sepsis after doing awareness interview
BBC Scotland journalistexplained how she didn’t spot her own sepsis despite addressing awareness with a sepsis survivor on TV.
The 30-year-old was left feeling ‘very unwell’ and waited more than 36 hours to ring the NHS.
Sepsis is a life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, and organ failure.
The newsreader’s illness in early October followed a TV interview with sepsis survivor Kimberley Bradley, who detailed how she ended up in an induced coma for eight days after she contracted meningococcal septicaemia.
McMullan reshared the footage on social media and reflected on her personal experience.
‘A month after doing this interview, I ended up very unwell with sepsis myself,’ she said.
A month after doing this interview, I ended up very unwell with sepsis myself. Resulting in an A and E visit, a week in hospital and a couple more weeks of tablets and rest.
— Sarah McMullan (@SarahMcMullanTV) November 6, 2022
‘Resulting in an A&E visit, a week in hospital and a couple more weeks of tablets and rest.
‘If you suspect sepsis, don’t hesitate to get help. I should’ve acted sooner.’
She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme: ‘[Miss Bradley] spoke through all of the symptoms and what to look out for and what to remember and when to get help and I did not remember them well enough.’
McMullan then confided in a colleague and stressed that something was ‘really not right.’
‘Then I started physically shaking and all the colour drained from my face,’ she added.
‘My lips were turning blue. My hands were chalk white, like you had been standing outside in winter for hours.
‘There was no colour in my skin. There was no heat in my body. It was uncontrolled shivering and shaking.’
At the time McMullan thought it may have been linked to the fact she had not had any breakfast.
‘Because the symptoms can be so many things I did not realise how unwell I was,’ she said.
Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection.
It happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs.
You cannot catch sepsis from another person.
Sepsis is sometimes called septicaemia or blood poisoning.
Symptoms in adults and children:
- High/Low temperature
- Uncontrolled shivering
- Passing little urine/diarrhoea
- Blotchy or cold arms and legs
Other symptoms in children may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe muscle pain
- Severe breathlessness
- Loss of consciousness
- Very lethargic or difficult to wake
- Breathing very fast
- Fit or convulsion
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