City Leader Peggy Russell Dies Suddenly

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(Memphis) Mayor AC Wharton is calling her a "passionate leader against violence."

Forty-seven-year-old Peggy Russell died suddenly Tuesday night. She was the head of the mayor's Gun Down initiative and the 901 Bloc Squad.

Those who knew Russell say the infection in her lungs, pneumonia, had spread to her blood.

They say she felt fine Thursday, a little sick Friday and then by Sunday she had admitted herself to the hospital.

Two days later she passed away.

“We know that most pneumonia deaths are due to sepsis,” said Dr. Karen Hopper, the chief medical chief medical officer for Methodist North.  “Sepsis is an overwhelming response to infection.”

Dr. Hopper says what Russell died of is common. In fact, she says one out 10 emergency room visits are due to sepsis, toxins released into the blood due to an infection.

Thirty percent of people who come down with it will die, “You can get a mosquito bite, scratch it too much and be infected and get sepsis from that.”

Dr. Hopper says people should always keep a close eye on any infection so sepsis can be caught early, “Early signs can be breathing difficulty, nausea or upset stomach, which is damage to the intestinal track.”

Also, breathing fast, feeling weak, or your pulse quickening can be signs as well.  Also watch out for someone acting confused or not like themselves, “You just feel worse than you thought you should feel.”

Dr. Hopper says catching sepsis within six hours of onset is the most important key to surviving it.

Medical experts say no one group of people is more susceptible to sepsis.

It  can affect a healthy person just like Peggy Russell.

The City leader leaves behind four children.