Her small bump turned into life-threatening sepsis. Her message: Don’t wait to get help

An emotional reunion years in the making, Katy Grainger thanking the doctors who saved her life.
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:02 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:09 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Queen’s Medical Center was the site of an emotional reunion this week as Katy Grainger thanked the doctors who saved her life.

In Fall 2018, Grainger was living on Kauai at the time and spotted something odd.

“I noticed that I had a small bump on my finger and it looked weird,” Grainger said.

“It was kind of purple-ish and it was sort of oozing. It didn’t look like a bug bite. It just looked different.”

Days later that bite turned into an infection that spread throughout her body and she asked a friend to rush her to the hospital .

“About 10 minutes out, I started crying in the car and saying my hands and feet are on fire,” Grainger said.

“That’s when I remember her being alarmed. She called the hospital and said, ‘we’re coming in. she cant really sit up. Her hands and feet hurt. This is not the flu.”

Doctors at Wilcox Medical Center immediately recognized the symptoms as sepsis and had her airlifted to Queen’s Medical Center, where she was taken to the intensive care unit.

“She probably was the sickest patient that day and quite honestly, I was not sure she was gonna survive,” said Dr. Reid Ikeda, Queen’s pulmonary and critical care physician. “I remember she was on the ventilator. She was on 100% oxygen.”

A snippet of the vigorous, round-the-clock treatment over the course of a month that included dialysis and hyperbaric therapy.

Unfortunately, the infection forced doctors to amputate her legs, but they preserved most of her hands and prevented any brain damage. Grainger recalls the moment she regained consciousness and saw the doctors.

“He’s like I can’t believe I’m looking into your eyes, I can’t believe your eyes are open, look at you, you’re so healthy,” she said.

Grainger has since made a full recovery and now dedicating her life to sepsis awareness.

She’s told her story nationwide and is currently writing a book about the harrowing and inspirational experience.

“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” Grainger said.

“I made mistakes that could have been different had I known more about sepsis.”