Sepsis Stories
Sepsis Survivor
Skylar Roy: Survived Sepsis, Age 15

Story told by Skylar’s mom, Amie.

Skylar was a healthy, happy, busy fifteen-year-old girl in the middle of her sophomore year when she started feeling unwell in March of 2023. She began experiencing increased fatigue and body aches on a Saturday. By Sunday, her symptoms worsened, and she developed a fever of 101 degrees. We treated her fever with ibuprofen and Tylenol while ensuring she rested. On Monday morning, I took Skylar to see her pediatrician as her fever spiked to 102 degrees as soon as the effects of the medication wore off. During the visit, Skylar complained of leg pain and presented a red, splotchy rash on her right leg. Despite various tests, including Flu, Strep, COVID, and urine analysis, all results came back negative. The rash was believed to be a reaction to her high fever. We were advised to manage her symptoms and contact the office if the situation worsened.

On Monday night, Skylar started vomiting and experiencing diarrhea while still battling the fevers and increasing body aches. She began shivering and continued to complain about leg pain, which we attributed to possible dehydration. On Tuesday, we contacted the pediatrician again to report the new symptoms and express concern about dehydration. Once more, we were informed about the prevalence of various illnesses, including norovirus, and instructed to treat her symptoms, keep her hydrated, manage the fever, and allow her to rest. Surprisingly, Tuesday night seemed to bring some improvement as Skylar reported feeling better, managed to keep down a popsicle and fluids, and her fever finally broke. I thought she had overcome the worst of this severe illness she had contracted, but unfortunately, I was mistaken.

Early Wednesday morning, her fever spiked again, accompanied by shaking, leg pain, vomiting, and her crying out in pain. It was at this point that we decided to take her to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI. Our hope was that they could provide her with intravenous fluids and relief for the symptoms that over-the-counter remedies couldn’t alleviate. By this time, the rash had spread to both of her legs, and walking had become so excruciating that we had to carry her to the car. Upon our arrival at the ER, we were immediately admitted without any wait time, almost as if we were meant to be there at that precise moment. The medical team commenced their evaluations promptly, and within an hour of being in the ER, our beautiful daughter’s condition deteriorated rapidly. It became evident that she was now fighting for her life, yet we couldn’t fathom why. How could a previously healthy teenage girl become gravely ill in such a short period of time? The rash on her legs transformed from red and splotchy to purple streaks before our eyes.

We were informed that Skylar’s lab results showed dangerous, life-threatening levels, with a lactic acid reading of 8. Her kidneys were failing, and her blood pressure dropped to perilously low levels, requiring immediate treatment with IV epinephrine. The medical team initiated five different IV antibiotics until they could determine the specific bacteria causing the infection. Thankfully, we had brought her to the hospital just in time. Our daughter, whom we initially brought for IV fluids, was now in septic shock, locked in a life-or-death struggle. She spent fourteen days in the hospital, with six of those days spent in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Over the course of her hospitalization, she underwent numerous tests and painful procedures. She developed a blood clot in her right leg, necessitating a PICC line for the administration of IV antibiotics. Ultrasounds were conducted on her extremities, stomach, and heart. Skylar required a Bipap machine for breathing support, wound care for her leg swelling, which caused the rash to develop into large blisters, and countless blood draws. Following her discharge, Skylar underwent two surgeries for her leg wounds and required skin grafts as a result. She returned home with twice-daily blood thinner injections, a handful of medications, the need for daily wound care, and multiple weekly appointments.

While the severity of her illness terrified us, we are incredibly grateful that she was able to return home with us. It has been just over three months since our daughter’s admission to the hospital in septic shock. Each day, she grows stronger, both physically and mentally, from the arduous journey she endured. We take life one day at a time and now have a renewed appreciation for its preciousness. Our mission is to share Skylar’s story, hoping to help other families recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis before it’s too late. Our daughter is one of the fortunate survivors of sepsis, and we will forever be grateful.