• Article
  • March 17, 2017

Pediatric Sepsis: Jose's Story

Jose sick with sepsisWhen Edna rushed her three-week-old baby boy, Jose Carlos (JC), to the emergency room, she knew something wasn’t right. Overnight, JC went from being happy and healthy to unresponsive and feverish. Upon walking into the ER at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, a doctor happened to walk by and immediately recognized that something was terribly wrong with JC. It was then the he was rushed into a room to begin treatment. 

This quick recognition – by both Edna and the ER physician – would ultimately save JC’s life, but at the time Edna was terrified. She didn’t know what was wrong with her son or how to help him. “My little baby was in a hospital bed with 15 doctors and nurses surrounding him, and I didn’t know what was happening. Not knowing if he was going to be OK was the scariest part,” Edna recalled. 

After two days of tests, an infectious disease doctor told Edna that JC had sepsis. “That was the first time I heard the term, “sepsis.” I finally had an answer, but I couldn’t process it.” Edna asked her family to look up sepsis online and see what they could find. The next day, her sister showed up with a binder filled with sepsis information including key terminology and facts. 

As JC continued to fight for his life, Edna received mixed information from his doctors. A neurologist told her that if JC was able to go home, he would have brain damage. Other physicians were more positive, and said that they were not giving up on her son. Edna and her family focused on the positive, and thankfully JC began to recover. 

JoseJC was able to leave the hospital after one month, and doctors called his recovery remarkable. Although JC would later experience a minor speech delay, he’s fully recovered now and is a laughing, playful six-year-old. Edna shares JC’s story to educate other doctors, caregivers and families about the signs and symptoms of sepsis.  

JC’s story first appeared as a Faces of Sepsis feature at Sepsis.org, the website of Sepsis Alliance.


Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospitalized children, killing almost 5,000 children annually in the U.S.


Sharing these sepsis patient stories is part of the Improving Pediatric Sepsis Outcomes collaborative, a multi-year quality initiative to significantly reduce sepsis-related mortality and morbidity across children’s hospitals.