This Rugby man almost died from sepsis - he wants you to learn how to spot it early

Truck mechanic Jochen Greuel and his wife are keen for people to learn the symptoms of sepsis to catch it early.
Truck mechanic Jochen Greuel and his wife are keen for people to learn the symptoms of sepsis to catch it early.

When Jochen Greuel was rushed to Walsgrave hospital in January with sepsis, his wife was told to not expect him to last the night.

As his immune system attacked his own body, Mr Greuel spent two weeks in an induced coma, then five weeks in wards.

Jochen Greuel spent weeks in hospital battling sepsis.

Jochen Greuel spent weeks in hospital battling sepsis.

The truck mechanic had his fingers and the halves of his feet amputated, he lost the tip of his nose and slithers from his ears and has been left with kidney damage – meaning he currently relies on dialysis.

Sepsis occurs when your immune system overreacts to an injury or an infection. If caught early it can be treated with antibiotics, but if not spotted it means the immune system attacks the body - which can lead to organ failure and death.

Doctors believe Mr Greuel contracted Sepsis from a pathogen found in dogs. "We have a dog so we can only assume that it was a little nip while he was playing," said Mrs Greuel.

Now the couple are organising a weekend of events to raise awareness of the devastating effect that the little understood condition can have, and to raise funding for the Sepsis Trust.

Mr Greuel’s wife, Pippa, told the Advertiser: “The UK Sepsis Trust says 44,000 people in the UK die of sepsis annually – that’s more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer put together.”

Speaking of the need for people to learn to recognise the symptoms of sepsis, Mrs Greuel said: “I was so shocked at how quickly it happened.

Mr Greuel had begun to suffer flu-like symptoms, including a fever. When his fever reached a dangerous temperature and he started to change colour, Mrs Greuel called a doctor, who assessed Mr Greuel and realised he had the symptoms of sepsis.

"It was lucky the doctor made the call. She probably saved Jochen's life," said Mrs Greuel.

"He's still suffering from extreme fatigue and he has to have supporting boots because he struggles to walk for any distance. We're not sure how much, if at all, his kidneys will recover. It's just a very long and painful waiting game," she added.

Early treatment saves lives. Here's how you can spot sepsis:

The UK Sepsis Trust said adults should get urgent medical attention if they experience any of these symptoms: slurred speech or confusion, extreme shivering or muscle pain, severe breathlessness, they feel as if they are going to die or their skin is mottled or discoloured.

If a child has any of the following symptoms, you should call 999 and ask if it could be sepsis: breathing very quickly, has a fit or convulsion, looks mottled, bluish, or pale, has a rash that does not fade when you press it, is very lethargic or difficult to wake, feels abnormally cold to touch.

A child below five years old may have sepsis if they: are not feeding, repeatedly vomiting, have not urinated for 12 hours.

Visit sepsistrust.org to learn more.

When and where are the events?

The events will take place at the Half Moon pub on Lawford Road. On October 26 from 7pm there will be a quiz. From 7pm on October 27 there will be a fancy dress Halloween party and on Sunday afternoon a raffle and the results of a raffle that begins on October 26 will be announced.

Anyone wishing to donate prizes for the raffle is asked to call the Half Moon on 01788 574420.