Former bodybuilder who went to the hospital with clicking shoulder nearly died from sepsis
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A former bodybuilder has spoken out to warn others about sepsis after he nearly died from the condition.
Mark Oakes, 51, was a keen mountain biker and a black belt in karate, but the shocking illness left him at death's door.
His condition was so dire that his wife, Heather, was told to bring their son to the hospital to say his final goodbye.
Mark, who lives on the border between Harlow and Roydon in Essex, said: “I consider myself to be somewhat informed about this sort of thing but I knew nothing about sepsis.
"I had this perception that sepsis was something found in people who have had things like tattoos in less than hygienic places, or someone who had had a hideous bite in a tropical country.
"I also thought it would be easily treated. What I didn’t know was that it killed about 50,000 out of 250,000 people affected in the UK each year. I didn’t know that people die of sepsis every hour. I didn’t know that it is the biggest killer globally."
Mark's health scare took place in the summer of 2022 when he heard his shoulder 'make a sound' while he was cleaning windows at home.
Initially dismissing it as an age related problem, he soon found himself unable to move his arm at all and headed to A&E.
When Mark arrived at hospital, he was 'feverish and shivering'.
Specialists initially thought he would need orthopaedic surgery. While waiting for the surgery, Mark spent a week on pain medication which left him struggling to sleep and breathe.
When he tested his oxygen levels on Heather's Apple watch, he discovered that it was 68 percent lower than the healthy average of 95-100pc.
Heading back to the hospital, Mark was placed under general anaesthetic so doctors could drain his shoulder. While this was happening, his liver and kidneys began to fail and his lungs began filling with liquid.
When Mark awoke fifteen hours later, he had a ventilator on his face.
"I looked like Bane," the 51-year-old recalled.
Mark spent the next ten days in intensive care where his condition worsened before it got better.
He said: "Intensive care is a tough place to be as a patient. There is very little that you can do for. yourself - you’re bedbound, you have got all this medication.
"There are alarms going off all the time because everyone else there is really poorly. You get disturbed quite often by tests and more medication."
Even though she was asked to bring in their son Lincoln to say goodbye, Heather remained Mark's rock during the tough time.
He said: "Heather was confident I would be alright in the end though - she views me as strong and a fighter. She worked exceptionally hard to keep Lincoln’s life as normal as possible, as well as visiting me. She has had the hardest journey of all of us, without a doubt."
Eventually, Mark recovered although problems with his shoulders still persisted. He now works with the charity Sepsis Research FEAT to raise awareness about the illness.