It's become a vocation. It helps us with our loss. You don't want it to be healed - you almost want an open wound because you're then still with the person you've lost. She's still with me.
– Jason Watkins
Every 3.5 seconds someone in the world dies of sepsis - a form of blood poisoning which kills three times more people than breast cancer per year. Today the Department of Health will announce vital steps for healthcare professionals to follow in the case of a dangerous fever - a paediatric toolkit designed by the UK Sepsis Trust - in a bid to drive down death rates.
We're joined by BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins who lost his two-year-old daughter Maude on New Years Day 2011. He will talk about how sepsis is the deadly infection that all new parents need to be aware of as it can strike newborn babies as well as toddlers - in fact, all of us can be at risk. Today Jason is supporting the launch of a pocket guide for parents by the UK Sepsis Trust - red-flagging signs and symptoms to look out for.
Sepsis is 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, its 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 1000 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
By Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust and frontline NHS Consultant