‘I nearly died from septicaemia after going out four times a week’

The survival rate can be less than 50 per cent

A brave third year was left in critical condition after catching septicaemia and pneumonia after going out four times a week.

Media Art finalist Ally Reeve, 22, caught the potentially fatal blood poisoning in her second term while working as a club promoter in Plymouth.

The survival rate of septicaemia can be as low as 50 per cent, while her pneumonia left her struggling to breathe in hospital.

Ally told The Tab: “It really was a life and death situation.

“Doctors pumped 10 litres of saline into me, but my blood pressure was so low they couldn’t even read it.”


Ally in hospital after catching septicaemia and pneumonia

Ally first became ill after working evenings and going out most nights in her last year at Plymouth.

She said: “I was in my third year so it was the worst possible timing so spent most of my final recovering.

“I was going three or four times a week and working as a club promoter, which was funding me going out more.

“I’d be standing outside for four hours at a time in the freezing cold then go out and get drunk again after finishing work because everywhere in Plymouth stays open really late.”

It was on shift ending at 3am when things started to go wrong.

Ally said: “I had to leave because I was shivering uncontrollably and crying.

“I didn’t think to call an ambulance and just planned to sleep it off.

“Because I’d been out a lot that week my housemate Tamsyn just thought I was hungover.”


Ally (left) with her housemate Tamsyn

After being rushed to hospital, Ally was taken straight to the emergency A&E ward, where she was initially quarantined.

She said: “They pumped 10 litres of saline into me, but my blood pressure was so low they couldn’t read it.

“My body was basically giving up and I was in critical condition.

“The amount of fluid on my lungs meant I couldn’t breathe.

“I’d feel alright for a few hours. Then I’d sweat, feel sick and feel like I’d pass out.”

Hospital staff tried a range of medication to stabilise her condition, and after a week Ally was thankfully able to move to a regular ward.


Ally has now graduated and works as a freelance video assistant

The third year had to return to her parents’ house after being allowed out of hospital, and ended up missing the majority of her second term from February until April.

And she was left with walking problems because a pre-existing condition.

“Because of my achilles tendon, when I actually felt able to walk I had to walk on crutches for a month – and I still need them sometimes.

“I still have trouble breathing and get really out of breath easily, so it’s a long recovery process.

“At first I’d walk around the house for an hour then have to take a two hour nap.”

Ally overcame her condition to finish uni and is set to graduate with second class honours on Friday.

She now works as a freelance broadcast assistant and even is setting up her own film company.

What’s more, a friend who came to visit her every day in hospital is now her boyfriend.


Ally with her boyfriend Louis

Speaking on her professional basketball player boyfriend, Ally said: “The silver lining of the whole experience is that me and Louis ended up together.

“We’d been close beforehand and everyone in our circle had been telling us we should get together.

“He got a phone call and must have thought ‘shit Ally is going to die’.”

Ally wants other students to learn from her experience and wants us to take it easy during fresher’s week.

She said: “I was eating rubbish food and going out all the time.

“Students don’t realise how overdoing it can have severely bad consequences – especially with the cold season coming up.”