Nurse given just one hour to live on Christmas Day – after flu turned into deadly sepsis

Nurse given just one hour to live on Christmas Day – after flu turned into deadly sepsis

A NURSE was given just an hour to live after a bout of flu turned into deadly sepsis. Jessica Dlugasch was left fighting for her life on Christmas Day after her husband Aaron, found her hallucinating and shivering on their bedroom floor. PA Real Life Jessica Dlugasch was left fighting for her life after a…

A NURSE was given just an hour to live after a bout of flu turned into deadly sepsis.

Jessica Dlugasch was left fighting for her life on Christmas Day after her husband Aaron, found her hallucinating and shivering on their bedroom floor.

 Jessica Dlugasch was left fighting for her life after a bout of flu triggered deadly sepis

PA Real Life

Jessica Dlugasch was left fighting for her life after a bout of flu triggered deadly sepis

Doctors warned the dad-of-two his wife of 12 years was serious ill, and her life hung in the balance.

They revealed Jessica was battling sepsis, one of the deadliest conditions caused by the immune system responding abnormally to an infection.

Those 60 minutes were the longest of Aaron’s life, as he waited, willing his wife to survive.

Miraculously she did, having made it through that vital hour, Jessica, from Pennsylvania, spent six days in intensive care before she was discharged on New Year’s Day.

 The mum-of-two was found shivering and hallucinating on the floor of her bedroom on Christmas Day by her husband Aaron

PA Real Life

The mum-of-two was found shivering and hallucinating on the floor of her bedroom on Christmas Day by her husband Aaron

“I’m lucky to be alive,” she said.

“It was the holidays, and supposed to be a family time to celebrate, but instead I was in the hospital on the brink of death.”

The 38-year-old was struck down with flu after working long shifts, despite having her flu jab.

When she woke up on December 23 2016, Jessica struggled to even turn her head.

 Doctors warned Aaron his wife of 12 years could have just an hour to live after he rushed her to hospital on Christmas morning

PA Real Life

Doctors warned Aaron his wife of 12 years could have just an hour to live after he rushed her to hospital on Christmas morning

Her temperature was 39C – two degrees above normal – so her husband took her to hospital, where doctors confirmed she had flu.

The mum-of-two was given medication to ease her fever and pain, and she was sent home to try and enjoy Christmas.

“We are Jewish, so as well as it being Christmas, Hannukkah also fell between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day that year, so we were celebrating that too,” she said.

Doctors confirmed I was in septic shock and, because my fever had been so high, they really thought I might die

Jessica Dlugasch

“I had my grandmother over and the house was all decked out in readiness for the family celebrations.”

But Jessica’s condition deteriorated, and on Christmas morning, Arron found his wife blue and shivering in their bedroom.

“I was in a really bad way,” Jessica, mum to Benjamin, now five and Aviva, now three, said.

“My temperature was 40.5C and I felt absolutely awful.

 Miraculously, Jessica did pull through that critical hour and spent six days in intensive care before she was discharged on New Year's Day

PA Real Life

Miraculously, Jessica did pull through that critical hour and spent six days in intensive care before she was discharged on New Year’s Day

“Lying in bed, Aaron called me an ambulance and I was taken to Capital Health Hospital in Hopewell, New Jersey, where we were living at the time.”

Emergency blood tests showed her organs were producing high levels of lactic acid which, according to the Sepsis Alliance, can be an indication of sepsis.

In a terrible state, that was when Jessica’s husband Aaron was given the most earth-shattering news – his wife could have just one hour left to live.


SPOT THE SIGNS What is sepsis? Learn the warning signs here…


“Doctors confirmed I was in septic shock and, because my fever had been so high, they really thought I might die,” she said.

“I was given oxygen because the flu had caused a lung to collapse and was pumped with four types of antibiotics, just to get rid of the infection.

“I was in a bad way, hallucinating still and in a lot of pain.”

Put on morphine for the pain, Jessica made it through the crucial hour, then lay in the intensive care unit for six days, with her desperate husband keeping a vigil at her bedside.

 Doctors said they believed Jessica developed pneumonia, which then caused sepsis

PA Real Life

Doctors said they believed Jessica developed pneumonia, which then caused sepsis

Medics believed Jessica contracted sepsis, because her flu developed into a chest infection, which caused pneumonia.

According to The UK Sepsis Trust, the condition can occur in response to any infection or injury, anywhere in the body, including a chest infection causing pneumonia.

Symptoms include:

  • slurred speech
  • confusion
  • extreme shivering
  • muscle pain
  • not passing urine
  • severe breathlessness
  • feeling as if you will die
  • having mottled or discoloured skin

Jessica added: “They thought I was so infectious that Aaron could only come in to my private room with a mask, gown and shoe protectors on.

“This meant our children couldn’t visit either, which was just awful.”

After regaining her strength, on December 30, Jessica was moved out of intensive care into a less acute ward, where she stayed on New Year’s Eve.

 Jessica is now trying to raise awareness of the warning signs of sepsis, to stop others falling victim to the killer condition

PA Real Life

Jessica is now trying to raise awareness of the warning signs of sepsis, to stop others falling victim to the killer condition

It was the first time she had spent away from Aaron in their then 16-year relationship.

Instead the devoted couple saw in 2017 together, by staying on the phone all night.

She added: “We just kept the phone running all night, even if he or I were sleeping, just so we could be together. ”

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