Medics petition government to make sepsis a clinical priorityPosted by Ellee on Dec 5, 2011 in Blog, PR client | 6 comments
The sudden death of Brazilian soccer legend Socrates from sepsis, blood poisoning following an infection, comes at the same time that I am promoting the vital work of the UK Sepsis Trust, which is petitioning the government to make sepsis a clinical priority by establishing it as a medical emergency.
Campaigners, made up of patients and their families, as well as doctors and nurses, are urging healthcare professionals to screen for sepsis when examining patients with severe flu-like symptoms, most prevalent in winter months, and to follow their recommended Sepsis Six treatment plan within an hour when sepsis is suspected. Full details of the plan can be viewed here.
Well known sufferers treated successfully for sepsis include the popular singer Lily Allen and Lily-Rose, the young daughter of Hollywood star Johnny Depp. Others are not so fortunate. Barbara Franks, the mother of four young children whose husband Marc died in February, explained how tragedy struck, and this year they will be spending their first Christmas without their father:
“My husband died from sepsis a few months ago aged just 38 leaving four young children aged from 6 to just 3 months old. There were no warning signs until a couple of days before when he said his eczema had got slightly infected, but he went to work as normal on the Thursday.
“Thursday night he put himself to bed early with sickness and diarrhoea as there had been a virus going round which me and a couple of the kids had had, so I thought no more about it.
“Friday came and he was still in bed. Then Friday night/early hours Saturday morning, he started having all the symptoms, light headedness, breathing problems and clamminess, so I called an ambulance, but unfortunately he went into cardiac arrest and after an hour was pronounced dead. It took a post mortem to tell us he had died from sepsis which I had never heard of until now.
“It would be great to make people more aware of the symptoms as my four children are now without a daddy.”
An early diagnosis is crucial for saving lives. Dr Ron Daniels, who works in the Intensive Therapy Unit at the Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, believes their screening could save 10,000 of the 37,000 deaths caused each year in the UK by sepsis, and £170 million from the annual NHS budget.
Dr Daniels says: “Sepsis claims 37,000 lives annually in the UK – more than breast, bowel and prostate cancers combined, with the majority of cases in the community. We know that simple, timely interventions, including antibiotics and intravenous fluids, can dramatically reduce the risk of dying by up to one half, yet these are delivered in fewer than 1 in 7 cases in the UK. Early sepsis treatment is cost effective, reducing hospital and critical care bed days for patients, as well as saving lives.”
You can support UK Sepsis and sign their e-petition at this link. It has more than 1,200 signatures, please pass it on.
UPDATE: New post, Families describe losing loved ones to sepsis.