Live Webinar - Faces of Sepsis: Survivor Panel

February 11, 2020

Webinar Description

Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Every year, at least 1.7 million adults in the US develop sepsis, and more than 50% of sepsis survivors report long-term effects after sepsis. However, many people have never heard of sepsis and do not know what to do when they or their loved ones are diagnosed with sepsis. Presented by sepsis survivors for sepsis survivors, this webinar will include a panel discussion about life after sepsis. Three sepsis survivors will tell their stories and will answer attendee questions about their experiences with sepsis, as well as how they found purpose and returned to life after sepsis.

Target Audience

Sepsis survivors, their families, and healthcare providers who care for sepsis survivors

Learning Objectives


Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
02/11/2020 - 11:00am PST
Event ends: 
02/11/2020 - 12:00pm PST

Rusty Wagstaff

Sepsis Survivor

On Wednesday, December 18, 2013, Rusty’s wife Bonnie took him to an urgent care because he was tired and lethargic. They suspected the flu, but tested negative. They were told to go home and not return unless he ran a high fever. Bonnie called every day to let them know that she still suspected some type of illness. They were again told to not come back.

On Sunday, Rusty’s fever went up to over 104 and they went back to urgent care, and they sent him to the Rex Hospital ER. It took three days for a blood culture to come back showing that he was experiencing septic shock. At this point, he was already in a coma.

On Christmas morning, doctors told Rusty’s family to say their good-byes. They felt they had done all they could do. Miraculously, he survived. On January 2, 2013, they amputated both of Rusty’s legs below knee. Soon after they amputated both of his hands. On January 28, 2013, Rusty and Bonnie left Rex and went to RIC in Chicago for rehab. On April 15, 2013, they returned home to Wendell N.C where they are happily retired and now have four beautiful grandchildren and a fifth on the way.

Aimee Pacheco

Sepsis Survivor

Aimee was born in Hawaii and currently lives on the Big Island. She works as a Customer Service Representative for Safari Aviation. Her sepsis story began almost two years ago in April 2018 on a Sunday. Her symptoms started very suddenly and all at once, and in the beginning it came across like she had a really bad case of the flu. Her primary care physician tested her for the flu. When it came back negative, he said he didn’t know what was wrong with her, so he sent Aimee home and told her to get some rest. Aimee got severely worse as the week went on, and ended up going to the ER on Friday. She was diagnosed with enteritis, dehydration, and renal insufficiency; she was prescribed anti-nausea medication and sent home.

As her symptoms became even worse, Aimee didn’t think she was going to survive the night at home. She was rushed back to the ER in the morning and was admitted immediately, as she was already in the stages of severe sepsis. Aimee was in the ICU for five days, most of which she can’t remember, and needed surgery for an abdominal abscess. She gained 38 pounds of fluid in the first two days, and was on nine different antibiotics through a PICC line before they finally found a combination that worked. After she was stabilized, Aimee spent seven days in recovery. She finally got to go home with a full course of home infusion antibiotics. She was readmitted to the hospital a week later with pleural effusion and a collapsed left lung, but thankfully there were no signs of recurrent sepsis.

Toya Russell

Sepsis Survivor

Toya Russell is 46 years old and is a mother of a 20 year old daughter. She’s employed with the state of Illinois as a Human Services Caseworker for the Department of Human Services, where she determines eligibility for TANF, SNAP, and MEDICAL Assistance.

On June 1, 2017, Toya had surgery for uterine fibroids. She learned after the surgery that her colon was perforated and her kidneys were damaged, and that she would have to start dialysis upon her release home. As she laid in the recovery room, she became lethargic, dehydrated, and had difficulty breathing. Her sister came to visit and, as a registered nurse for 19 years, she immediately knew something was wrong. Toya was moved to the ICU and it was determined that Toya was in septic shock. She was placed into a medically induced coma and survived the ordeal. She is honored to share her story and tell the world what her life has been like after surviving sepsis.

No continuing education credits are offered for this webinar.

Medical Disclaimer

The information on or available through this site is intended for educational purposes only. Sepsis Alliance does not represent or guarantee that information on or available through this site is applicable to any specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content on or available through this site does not constitute medical advice from a physician and is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare provider. Sepsis Alliance recommends users consult their physician or healthcare provider regarding any questions about whether the information on or available through this site might apply to their individual treatment or care.

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