In the recent past I have lost several male friends and relatives to what today we would regard as premature death. Two were from cancer and one from a stroke and while tragic and upsetting these are somehow familiar. But two were from Septicaemia which comes as more of a shock. Both had had highly successful business careers so no longer needed to work. But they chose to carry on taking consultancy contracts often in far off developing countries. There they picked up infections to which their immune systems overreacted leading to long and painful death. But Sepsis can kill in as little as 12 hours.
Over a quarter of a million people in the UK suffer from Sepsis each year. Of these some 52,000 people die. Sepsis is a bigger killer than heart attacks, lung cancer or breast cancer. While it is more likely to affect the more vulnerable such as people with a weakened immune system, or those having chemotherapy treatment or who recently had an organ transplant, other major surgery or a serious illness, nevertheless a person can be a very healthy fit individual one day and be dead the next morning.
The Lady Mayoress of London, Lindy Estlin, told me this week that last year one of her oldest friends lost their 21-year-old son to Sepsis brought on by Meningitis W. His was a totally avoidable death for many reasons. Firstly, he should have been vaccinated against Meningitis W through the Men ACWY vaccination programme, and secondly, failing that, vaccinated opportunistically at his surgery had the critical NHS patient alert software not been released inactive regarding this vaccine. Those nationwide programme failures were compounded by errors at their local hospital including the catastrophic failure to diagnose and treat the ensuing Sepsis, resulting in the death of a fit and healthy young man in a matter of 21 hours from first manifestation of symptoms.
Of those who survive Sepsis, many are left with life long and life changing conditions, with nearly 20% of survivors suffering moderate to severe cognitive dysfunction and 22% enduring ongoing and debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A high proportion of these survivors will return to work and these “invisible” symptoms will inevitably affect their working lives as well as impact on their family situations.
With Sepsis being such a huge and relatively unknown life-changing condition we should all familiarise ourselves with the Sepsis symptoms:
lurred speech or confusion
xtreme shivering or muscle pain
assing no urine (in a day)
t feels like you’re going to die
kin mottled or discoloured.
You should also follow the “Just Ask” advice should you, your family and friends, or colleagues or employees, or indeed anyone else you know show any symptoms. Please also share this information with your family and friends, colleagues and employees, MPs and local councillors and any other contacts who may benefit. Should you like further details about Sepsis – or if you can offer any support that might enable the UK Sepsis Trust to continue to save lives as they work to educate medical professionals, continue the research into the causes and treatment of Sepsis, lobby government, educate the public and support survivors; please do contact Sarah Hamilton-Fairley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lindy Estlin also told me that next Friday, fittingly Friday 13th
September, marks the 8th
World Sepsis Day. This is a Global Sepsis Alliance initiative that started in 2012 and occurs every year on 13th
September with events held all over the world to raise awareness about Sepsis. World Sepsis Day 2019 will be the biggest yet with countless events for medical professionals, sport activities, photo exhibitions, gala events, dinners, public events such as open days in hospitals and healthcare facilities and online events such as the 2nd World Sepsis Congress, and campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat, Peach and many more social networks.