In an effort to call attention to the life-threatening dangers of pneumonia, Whoopi Goldberg’s doctor appeared on “The View” Monday to share grim details about the show’s co-host contracting the illness.
“I could barely understand Whoopi, what she was saying,” Dr. Jorge Rodriguez said, recalling a phone call he received from the star in January. “Her teeth were chattering, she was gasping for air.”
Rodriguez suspected she could have become septic, a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body has an extreme reaction to an existing infection, leading to organ failure.
The doctor then suggested Goldberg cover herself with a blanket, but she explained she couldn’t even walk a couple of feet. She said she was thinking of taking a rest, but Rodriguez urged her not to sleep because he was worried she wouldn’t wake up.
“I tried not to sound scared,” he said. “I was afraid she wasn’t going to wake up because you don’t know if someone when they give you those clues ― is she really now just tired or is she going to become unconscious and this is it?”
Goldberg was rushed to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with double pneumonia and sepsis. She took a nearly six-week hiatus from “The View” in early February to recover.
In March, Goldberg revealed in a taped message to her audience that she had been battling pneumonia in both lungs, which had triggered sepsis, as Rodriguez had suspected.
“I came very, very close to leaving the earth,” she told her fans. “Good news: I didn’t.”
She returned to her chair at the “Hot Topics” table later that month, and her colleagues greeted her with hugs and tears of joy.
Respiratory infections such as pneumonia are among the most common infections that cause sepsis. Signs of pneumonia include fever, cough with phlegm, sweating, shortness of breath and chills accompanied by shaking.
According to the Sepsis Alliance, the condition can be identified with the acronym TIME: temperature, which may be abnormally high or low, infection, mental status, which may be marked by drowsiness of confusion, and feeling extremely ill. Anyone experiencing symptoms should immediately call 911 and seek treatment.