Local Firefighter Triumphs Over Near-Deadly Sepsis

What started as a sore arm and a fever has snowballed into a desperate struggle for an Albany airport firefighter. Josh Woodward was hospitalized with seemingly benign symptoms, but within hours the 33-year-old father of two was on an operating table for emergency surgery; what he suspected was a flu was in fact sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition where the body’s natural response to infection becomes unbalanced.

“His kidneys are failing and he is on dialysis,” pleaded Aleysha Marie, summarizing Woodward’s condition on a gofundme campaign she made on behalf of the firefighter’s family. “He is currently stable, but these are critical hours. All Chelsea [Josh’s wife] can do right now is sit by his bedside, pray, and wait for a miracle.” Within 6 weeks, more than 2,200 people had contributed $112,550 to the campaign, providing funds for what some have recognized as a medical miracle.

Woodward was given a grim prognosis by his doctors: his odds of survival were a mere 5%. After a grueling and painful six-week hospital stay, which included surgeries to remove one hand and all ten of his toes, he was released from St. Peter’s Hospital. Woodward’s family and the community are thrilled about his recovery; his short-term efforts will be focused on rehabilitation and learning to adapt to life without his amputated appendages.