A leading sepsis doctor and mother, whose 12-month-old child died from the condition, are celebrating a victory which could save many lives.
Melissa Mead and Dr Ron Daniels from the UK Sepsis Trust have this week received the backing of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for their “Think Sepsis” campaign.
Melissa Mead lost her baby to sepsis at the tender age of one year. Sepsis, also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning, is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. Without prompt treatment with antibiotics, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
Two months prior to his death he had become ill, but the doctors failed to correctly diagnose his chest condition and so he wasn’t given the correct antibiotics to fight the pneumonia and resulting sepsis infection. She hadn’t realised until her son died that his death had been preventable, if the doctors treating him had recognised his rapidly deteriorating condition was due to sepsis.
The campaign will include a 90-second social media video aimed at both doctors and the public which will appear at hospital emergency departments, walk-in centres and doctor's surgeries on World Sepsis Day on 13 September.
"It is really, really important that this is a campaign which continues to roll and have a journey and an evolution," Mrs Mead said after the Whitehall meeting.
"Personally, I feel relieved because I'm here because William died but, equally, I'm stood here and we represent 44,000 people who die every year and 150,000 people who suffer with sepsis. This isn't a one-off story, it affects so many people's lives and it's very important."
Earlier this month, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence updated its guidelines so that sepsis is treated by doctors and nurses as an emergency on the same level as heart attacks.
The campaign will be aimed at recognising warning signs in both adults and children and the Department of Health has agreed to run it independently of a similar campaign to raise awareness of meningitis. Campaigners had fought to separate the conditions into two campaigns so as not to present the public with a confused message.
To find out more visit the UK Sepsis Trust website.