Karen Abbott's husband, Jem Abbott, went to the hospital for a routine vasectomy four years ago. A week later he was dead.

The healthy 37-year-old British man had contracted septicemia, a type of blood poisoning, after undergoing the male sterilization procedure, The Daily Mail reported.

Septicemia is a little-talked-about complication of surgery and illness that kills some 37,000 people a year, including "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, former Bee Gee Maurice Gibb and Pope John Paul II, according to The Daily Mail. The bacterial infection causes the body to attack itself rather than the infection.

Karen Abbott, who has had to bring up the couple's two children, Emily, 15, and Thomas, 12, alone, says she would do anything to prevent people from going through the pain she and her family experienced.

"We had completed our family; we were totally happy," she told The Daily Mail. "For Jem, a vasectomy was the right thing to do.

"He was told it was a quick, completely routine procedure, and that there might be a bit of pain and swelling but nothing he couldn't handle."

But just days after the operation, Jem Abbott was vomiting and had diarrhea and a fever. The family doctor recognized that it was a post-surgical infection and prescribed antibiotics, but it already was too late, according to the report.

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