Sepsis Stories
Darrell Raikes volunteering in the ICU. Photo by Pete Comparoni | UKphoto
Darrell Raikes: Survived Sepsis

In the spring of 2015, physicians determined that I required a partial knee replacement following a couple of unsuccessful knee scopes. On May 26th, 2015, I arrived at the hospital early in the morning, oblivious to the fact that stepping onto the elevator would mark my last memory for a while. An allergic reaction led to sepsis, propelling me into septic shock, causing organ failure, including my kidneys and lungs. The collapse of my right lung necessitated a chest tube, introducing me to ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). The administration of blood thinners was halted, and a filter was added to thwart the suspected blood clots, which unfortunately did occur.

For years, the aftermath of this traumatic experience lingered in the form of PTSD, anxiety, muscle weakness, neuropathy, and mental issues (Post Sepsis Syndrome). Additionally, I bear a scarred lung from the ARDS, along with other respiratory challenges. This journey would have been insurmountable without the unwavering support of my family, particularly my wife, and the dedicated medical professionals at the University of Kentucky.

Now, as a sepsis advocate, I contribute by delivering presentations and aiding others in navigating the aftermath or recognizing its signs. Volunteering at the University of Kentucky Hospital is another way I give back. While I am far from being back to normal, these endeavors allow me to support those in need.

Driven by my experiences, I founded to facilitate communication among patients, caregivers, nurses, and doctors when the patient is unable to speak.