Multi-organ failure: 'I thought it was flu but almost died three times'
A Meath man who is lucky to be alive after battling sepsis for 250 days in hospital, thought initially he was suffering from flu.
Philip Heary (53), from Kells, now wants to raise awareness of the deadly blood disease which left him on death's door three times after his organs failed.
The agricultural contractor developed sepsis from a chest infection and pneumonia, which he put down to flu and so avoided seeking medical help.
"Last November I had the classic signs of sepsis but like an Irish Paddy, I just kept going. I wasn't going to the toilet and I fell asleep behind the wheel of the car, waking up on the opposite side of the road," he said.
"I went to bed and woke up in buckets of sweat. My partner Elizabeth eventually rang for the doctor who saved my life.
"I was 36 stone with fluid retention and the doctor took one look at me and put me on oxygen straightaway because I could hardly breathe."
Mr Heary was taken to Our Lady's Hospital in Navan before being transferred to the Mater Hospital in Dublin where a tracheostomy was performed. He was found to have sepsis and placed in an induced coma. He spent six weeks in intensive care before being transferred to the high-dependency unit.
"I had multi-organ failure. My kidneys and lungs were gone. The doctors told my family to get my affairs in order three times as they didn't think I'd pull through," he said.
Mr Heary has been home for five weeks now and is slowly regaining strength.
"I know I'm lucky. While I was in hospital, three others came in after me with sepsis and none of them made it," he added.