Sister's death serves as warning to others

Editor, the Advocate:

One year ago June 3, my sister left this world unnecessarily. I am writing this as tribute to her life with the hope that this will be a wake-up call for others subjected to a similar situation.

This is a beware-of-sepsis message. If you have a loved one who is hospitalized for surgery or other ailments, watch and demand help immediately if their condition declines.

My sister, Dolores Hrncir, was a strong, "up at 5 a.m.," go-full-speed-every-day sort of person. She loved life, was happily married for seven years and planned to live to 100 years of age.

Dolores had a small resection because of a fold in her small intestine. The day after surgery, she walked the halls, fixed her hair and prepared to go home in a few days. That night, her condition declined; she was in extreme pain Thursday night through Friday night then went into septic shock. She groaned in pain during that time and was given morphine.

When the "team" was called, tests and another surgery were done; the infection had overcome her body and organs. Though she fought to live until early Monday morning, too much damage was done.

As a tribute to her, never let this happen to you. The hospital has a number to call if you feel something needs to be done. Don't wait. Make sure you have this phone number. We repeatedly asked to call the doctor, etc., but we didn't know about this number to call. Usually, the patient is given this number, which doesn't help if the patient is unable to speak. Do whatever is necessary to get help.

Every day, I relive my sister's suffering from that Friday. Even though we tried to get help, I will always feel guilty that we relied on the staff on hand. With sepsis, which is difficult to diagnose, action needs to be immediate. Insist on a scan, blood tests, X-rays and a doctor now - not when it's too late.

Dolores was so young for her age - beautiful and active - raising four sons alone after their father's death. She deserved to live and love a lot longer.

We miss her every day.

Elaine Thurman, sister of Dolores Hrncir, Victoria