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  1. ITV Report

Sunderland family warn of the dangers of sepsis

Layton Boyes-Hope Photo:
Nichol Boys and Dave Hope, Layton's parents

The parents of a one-year-old boy from Sunderland who died from sepsis say more families and health workers need to be alert to the dangers of the condition.

Layton Boys-Hope died in 2015, after his chicken pox led to sepsis.

His family have received damages from the NHS after claiming it wasn't picked up quickly enough.

Now they want more people to be aware of sepsis. It's been described as a 'silent killer'.

Layton lived for just 12 months

He seemed to be recovering from chicken pox in February 2015.

But when he became feverish and struggled for breath, his parents rushed him to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

They say that staff there dismissed this symptom of sepsis - his purple leg - as being caused by a tight nappy.

They claim he was left unmonitored for hours and wasn't given the antibiotics he needed until it was too late.

I feel let down that they didn't see it, and they didn't realise what it was until 11.30 at night - from 10 past 3 in the afternoon, they didn't actually realise 'it was sepsis' until 11.30 that evening, and that was a totally different doctor in a totally different department - accident and emergency.

I feel have failed us.

– Dave Hope, Layton's father

His parents have now been awarded compensation by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust. It admits that giving Layton antibiotics earlier could have helped him - but doesn't accept liability for his death.

NHS bosses have said they wanted to express their deepest condolences to Layton's family.

The trust says that making sure sepsis is identified and treated as quickly as possible has been one of its priorities for improvement, and that staff are given regular training and support to allow them to do this.

Signs of sepsis in children include discoloured skin, lethargy and fast breathing.

Adults with the condition can develop slurred speech, shivering or breathlessness.

It's caused by the immune system overreacting to an infection or injury - attacking the body.

If not treated quickly, it can lead to organ failure.

Sepsis kills 44 thousand people in the UK every year - and there are fears numbers will continue to rise.

We have an ageing population - and we also have increased numbers of very sick children surviving into infancy, and those two groups are at very high risk - and the third factor, and we don't know how big an issue this is yet is we've got the rising threat of antimicrobrial resistance.

– Dr Ron Daniels, UK Sepsis Trust

Layton's parents are now fundraising for the charity - and encouraging others to be more vigilant.

Their home is filled with reminders of Layton - they plan to tell his brothers and sisters all about him when they're older.

His parents hope too that his story too can help ensure other families don't have to experienced the loss that they have suffered.