From Sepsis to Med School

When Hillary Spangler was 10 years old, she was rushed to North Carolina Children's Hospital with persistent flu-like symptoms. She was released one month later -- a survivor of sepsis with a long road to recovery ahead.

May 14, 2015

Rising third-year medical student Hillary Spangler's journey to the UNC School of Medicine began at age 10, when she came down with what her parents thought was the flu. Symptoms persisted, and before long it was clear that Hillary wasn't getting any better. After receiving care in Asheboro, North Carolina, her hometown, she was transferred to North Carolina Children's Hospital, where she was diagnosed with sepsis. Sepsis is the body's often deadly reaction to an infection. Symptoms are similar to the flu at first, and for Hillary, who turned 11 during her month-long stay at the hospital, sepsis led to severe blisters, lack of mobility and a lot of fear and apprehension for her parents, who almost lost their daughter.

Hillary spent the rest of that school year recovering at home. She even had to relearn how to walk. But as frightening as her experience was, as she started making sense of what she'd gone through, she found a silver lining. She felt that her life was spared for a reason, and she was determined to give back -- to one day become a doctor, and to learn about medicine where she and her family received wonderful care and loving attention to their needs. 

Find out more about Hillary's inspiring journey in this month's Real Medicine Video.

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