Student, 20, left fighting for life after mistaking deadly sepsis for ‘freshers flu’

Georgia Coulson, 20, Guildford, Surrey, was run down with fever following her first week at university and claims she was twice told it was Covid and then appendicitis

Georgia Coulson was put into an induced coma for 16 days
Georgia Coulson was put into an induced coma for 16 days

A student was left fighting for her life after mistaking sepsis for ‘freshers flu’.

Georgia Coulson, 20, from Guildford, Surrey, spent a week partying in September 2021 during freshers which left her feeling run down with a fever.

But as the days passed, she grew concerned as her condition worsened.

Maths student Georgia claims she was dismissed twice with coronavirus over the phone before being misdiagnosed for a third time with appendicitis.

By the time Georgia reached A&E her body was going through septic shock and she was put into an induced coma for 16 days.

Now, she feels ‘lucky to be alive’ and hopes her story can raise awareness of sepsis.

She said: “I had never heard of sepsis before so I just assumed I had an intense version of freshers flu as I was partying a lot.

Georgia thought she had fresher’s flu



She was told she had Covid and appendicitis before being diagnosed correctly



“I spent three days in bed suffering with hot and cold sweats, fatigue and a sharp pain every time I took a breath.

“I called 111 twice and was told it was likely to be coronavirus even though I had taken a PCR and lateral flow test which both came back negative.

“I was hoping it was going to clear up after a few days but I was deteriorating by the minute.

“At the time, I didn’t realize a high temperature and shivers were symptoms of sepsis.”

Georgia admits the coronavirus diagnosis was ‘frustrating’ as tests confirmed she hadn’t contracted the virus.

She claims she was told to make her own way to the hospital as a medical professional suspected she had appendicitis.

The student says she was unable to stand when she arrived at the emergency room where she was rushed for further testing.

She said: “I couldn’t stand anymore; I was really ill.

Georgia was unable to stand when she arrived at the emergency room



“My friend had to do all the talking for me as I was too weak.

“Immediately, the nurse said this isn’t appendicitis and sent me CT scans and an x-ray.

“I was diagnosed with pneumonia and I had gone into septic shock.

“My blood pressure extremely low and I was put onto a ventilator in intensive care.

“The first night was very touch and go for a while as my oxygen levels were dangerously low.”

After 16 days in an induced coma, Georgia woke up to find out she battled sepsis.

She was discharged on October 20 2021 and is still struggling with the aftermath.

She said: “It is a long road to recovery.

“The doctor said it could take six months to a year to feel normal again.

“At the moment, I am still fatigued and sometimes my lungs hurt.

“I am sharing my story to raise awareness of sepsis and to urge others to get checked out.

“If I had gone to my GP or A&E a few days before, it could have been spotted quicker.

“Sepsis spreads fast so another day at home could have cost me my life.

“However, I didn’t want to be a nuisance as the NHS has been under pressure which is why I waited for the very last second.

“I regret doing that now so I hope my story encourages others to get checked out when they feel unwell.”

The main signs of sepsis are slurred speech, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine, severe breathlessness and skin mottled or discoloured.

For more information on sepsis, please check out: Home – Sepsis Trust.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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