Fieldfisher proud to support Daily Mail "End the Sepsis Scandal" Campaign
As a result of the Daily Mail's campaign to raise awareness of the devastating effects of sepsis, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has today confirmed that the NHS will start distributing up to a million leaflets in maternity wards, GP surgeries and casualty departments warning parents to consider sepsis when certain symptoms appear in their child. In addition, warnings on sepsis will be contained within the "red book" given to new mothers and in packs given to newly pregnant women.
I wrote previously about the dangers of sepsis in July 2016 and again in August 2016 and I'm relieved that the Government is taking action to educate mothers and healthcare professionals on the symptoms of this devastating illness.
You may also remember my refection on the unfortionate death of William Mead. Watch the video below where Jeremy Hunt branded the NHS's sepsis care as 'inadequate', in a grovelling apology for William's death back in January 2016.
Jeremy Hunt brands the NHS's sepsis care as 'inadequate'
Dr Ron Daniels CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust and a frontline NHS Consultant wrote about '10 little known facts about sepsis' and it genuinely alarmed me, to find that most people didn’t know how big a killer sepsis really was.
Here are Dr Daniels' facts:
- Sepsis can occur when the body starts to fight an infection; it can trigger the immune system to go into overdrive, damaging the body's own tissues and organs. Untreated, sepsis leads to multiple organ failure and death.
- Symptoms of sepsis include a rapid heart rate, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, a change in behaviour (confusion, drowsiness or slurring words - patients can appear 'drunk'), hypothermia, diarrhoea, changes in skin colour, sore throats and flu-like symptoms.
- If diagnosed and treated in the first hour following presentation with sepsis, the patient has more than an 80% survival rate. After the sixth hour, the patient only has a 30% survival rate.
- In the UK, it's estimated that we see 102,000 cases of severe sepsis every year, with a staggering 37,000 deaths. In comparison, breast cancer claims around 12,000 lives each year.
- Sepsis is one of the biggest direct causes of death in pregnancy in the UK.
- It consumes over a third of our most expensive hospital beds in Intensive Care and costs the NHS around £2.5 billion a year.
- Global figures: in the developing world, sepsis kills more than 6 million neonates and children yearly. Every hour, about 1,000 people die from sepsis worldwide.
- The UK Sepsis Trust public awareness poll in 2014 found that 40% of the public had heard the word 'sepsis' but of those, only 40% knew it was a medical emergency.
- Awareness is the number one cure for sepsis. Raising recognition of the disease and increasing the number of patients treated in the 'Golden Hour' is the single biggest attempt we can make to save lives.
- With public education, better knowledge and awareness among doctors, nurses and paramedics, and by redesigning the way patients with sepsis are treated, we can save 12,500 lives per year in the UK and shave £170 million from the NHS budget.
Dr Daniels' facts were first published on patient.info in 2015
Writing in today's Daily Mail, the Health Secretary commented
"Today I am delighted to launch a new sepsis awareness campaign for parents and carers of children from new-born to four years old to help them with the symptoms of sepsis – and, crucially, to know what to do if they spot them. Leaflets and posters are being distributed right now across the NHS." In addition "We have introduced a national scheme to make sure at-risk patients are screened for sepsis as quickly as possible and receive timely treatment on admission to hospital. We are also working with Health Education England to make sure all health professionals have the knowledge and skills to identify and treat sepsis."
Hopefully, following today's announcement and the clear message that parents should go to A&E immediately or call 999 if their child appears mottled, bluish or pale or is suffering from other signs including lethargy, feeling abnormally cold to touch and breathing very fast, we will see a drastic reduction in the number of new cases of sepsis reported in the UK.
You can read the Daily Mail's story here
By Mark Bowman, Partner
Mark Bowman joined the award winning Fieldfisher Personal Injury and Medical Negligence team as a trainee in 2003 and was promoted to Partner in 2013. He successfully pursues personal injury claims and medical negligence claims on behalf of victims and their families.
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