Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

‘I survived sepsis – only for it to kill my son’: Mother whose baby boy died after medics missed killer illness discovers she had battled blood poisoning first

  • William Mead, one, died in 2014 after medics failed to spot signs of sepsis 
  • Inquiry after his death revealed a staggering 15 failures in his care
  • Melissa Mead has met with Jeremy Hunt to discuss a sepsis campaign
  • Was shocked to learn only months ago she too battled sepsis in 2011 

Melissa Mead finds it hard to recall the time when she knew nothing about sepsis or the devastating swiftness with which it can kill.

Since her baby son, William, died from it, aged one, in December 2014, following a catalogue of errors, misdiagnoses and missed opportunities by doctors and the NHS helpline, she’s become an expert on the subject, campaigning to raise awareness and ensure others don’t die needlessly. So consider her shock when she learned, only months ago, that she herself had almost died from the condition. Following surgery in 2011, she became critically ill with an infection.

The revelation that the infection was sepsis came during a session with the psychiatrist who has treated her for depression and post-traumatic shock since William died.

There are no words to explain how profoundly the trauma of losing William affected my mental health,’ she recalls. ‘I am still having intensive therapy, and during one session my psychiatrist asked me: “How does it make you feel to know you survived sepsis and William didn’t?” I was confused. I said: “What do you mean?”

‘He has access to my medical notes and he said: “When you were very ill in hospital five years ago, you had sepsis.” ‘I can’t really remember the rest of the conversation because I was so shocked. I asked him to explain and he told me the infection after my operation was sepsis. ‘I wonder now if I’d been aware of what it was and what to look out for, whether we’d have been more alert to the symptoms when William developed it. ‘We should have been told. If we had been, things could have been so different.’

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Filed under: NHS Blunders,

Poor hospital care blamed for thousands of deaths from sepsis every year: Nearly half of patients die or end up disabled because cases are diagnosed late

  • Condition affects estimated 200,000 people a year in UK and kills 37,000
  • Sepsis occurs when bacterial infection sparks violent immune response
  •  Early signs of condition include fever, inflammation and blood clotting
  •  But warnings are often missed by doctors and can lead to heart failure

Basic failings in hospital care are contributing to thousands of deaths from sepsis every year, according to a damning report. Known as the ‘silent killer’, the condition affects an estimated 200,000 people a year in Britain and kills 37,000 – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Early signs of sepsis – which usually occurs when a bacterial infection sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs – include fever, inflammation and blood clotting. But these warnings are often missed by doctors and, if not recognised quickly, can lead to failure of the heart, liver, kidneys or lungs. It is the leading cause of avoidable death in the UK.

An audit, conducted by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death, found that there were delays in diagnosing sepsis in 36 per cent of cases, rising to 52 per cent in severe cases.  Even when the condition was suspected, treatment to bring it under control was not always given quickly. The report found that a third of hospitals had no formal protocol for tackling the problem and that 45 per cent of patients admitted with sepsis either died or suffered a major disability.

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Filed under: Hospital, , ,

Sepsis – signs and symptoms of the killer disease you probably haven’t heard of

Not heard of sepsis? You’re not alone.

According to a poll by the UK Sepsis Trust, 40% of the public said they’d heard the word – but of those, only 40% knew it was a medical condition. It’s one we should all be aware of, however. According to the NHS, it’s estimated that more than 100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis every year, and around 37,000 people will die as a result of the condition.

On Tuesday’s Good Morning Britain, W1A actor Jason Watkins – who is supporting the UK Sepsis Trust’s new pocket guide for parents about the infection – opened up about the loss of his two-year-old daughter Maude to the condition on New Year’s Day 2011.

“Every 3.5 seconds someone around the world dies of this condition,” he said. Explaining why more people aren’t aware of sepsis, he added: “It’s complicated by other symptoms. In our case, it was simply flu.”

What is sepsis?

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Filed under: Uncategorized, ,

Thousands of lives at risk as hospitals ignore simple tests for blood poisoning

  •  Experts have warned hospitals not using standard treatment for sepsis  
  • Blood poisoning affects more than 100,000 Britons a year and kills 37,000
  • 10% of patients at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary ward given correct treatment 
  •  Sepsis Six involves blood tests to check for infection and monitoring urine

Patients’ lives are at risk from blood poisoning because hospitals are not implementing a standard treatment that can double their chances of survival, experts have warned. Sepsis, previously known as septicaemia, affects more than 100,000 Britons a year and kills 37,000 – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Now a snapshot NHS study reveals that on one surgical ward at a leading teaching hospital, 90 per cent of patients failed to get the correct treatment, involving a simple set of lifesaving measures known as Sepsis Six.

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Mother-of-two Anna Tilley survived after spending four days in intensive care with blood poisoning, pictured with her son Harry 

Filed under: NHS, Uncategorized, , , ,

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