Parents offer advice after 8-month-old daughter diagnosed with sepsis

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two parents frightened by their 8-month-old daughter's medical emergency are now encouraging others to learn from their traumatic experience.

David and Renee McWalters told Eyewitness News that their daughter ended up in the hospital for days and could have died after becoming septic.

The McWalters said they noticed their daughter Lily had a cough and runny nose and took her to see a pediatrician.

Doctors were not very concerned, but after repeated visits, the McWalters realized Lilly was not getting better.

The parents said Lily's temperature shot up and her face started turning blue.

"I picked her up and I noticed her face started changing colors and she was having trouble breathing. We jumped in the car and went straight to the hospital," David said.

Days later, the parents found out their 8-month-old daughter had sepsis, which is a life-threatening complication of an infection.

"I had never heard of it. I felt if maybe I had known what sepsis was, maybe that could have helped," Renee said.

Experts say more than 250,000 Americans die from sepsis a year, but very few people know the risks and the symptoms.

"In the U.S. almost half the people have never heard the words sepsis or septic shock," Houston Methodist medical director for critical care Dr. Faisal Masud said.

He chairs the hospital's Sepsis Initiative.

He says the medical emergency happens when an infection you already have isn't stopped, and you start feeling worse.

"With flu season coming up, most of the deaths from flu season come from septic shock," Dr. Masud said. "I would like people to get flu shots. I would like people to be aware of these things."

The McWalters say even though Lily is doing better, parents need to be able to spot the signs so they can act fast.

"We don't want any other parents to go through that," Renee said.

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