Mother's emotional story of losing toddler to sepsis reduces Holly Willoughby to tears

Credit: ITV This Morning

A mother has spoken about the tragic loss of her son to sepsis in an emotional interview which reduced This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby to tears.

Melissa Mead's son William died just days after his first birthday in December 2014 after doctors failed to spot his illness four times.

Since William's death his mother has tirelessly campaigned for the NHS to raise awareness of the illness, which causes 37,000 deaths each year.

On Saturday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly apologised to Melissa and her family at her son's memorial service and admitted both the Government and the NHS "let her down".

Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV, Melissa said she been working with Mr Hunt for the past year to put in place a sepsis awareness campaign for young children.

When Holly Willoughby asked what William was like, Melissa said: "He was just so happy, at the end of every single day our cheeks hurt because we'd just be smiling so much, I've only got one photo of him crying."

Describing some of the events that led to her son's death, Melissa said: "Thirty-six hours before he died we saw two doctors and spoke to the 111 service and they all deemed William's situation as non-urgent.

"Within hours of speaking to the last doctor who told us to leave him in bed as that was the best place for him, to not bring him in, I went in to check on him and he'd passed away."

Holly Willoughby was visibly moved by the emotional interview. Credit: ITV This Morning

Sepsis is a common and potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an infection.

It is caused by the way the body responds to germs, such as bacteria. The body’s response to an infection may injure its own tissues and organs.

Holly said Melissa "must feel very proud" of her son's legacy and what he has achieved, to which she replied: "I'm blessed that he picked me to be his mum.

"I'm honoured to call him my son and I'm incredibly proud of what's been achieved in his name, it's not me that's done that, it's him.

"The impact he's had in his short life is more than I can ever hope to achieve in a lifetime."

Four medics failed to spot that William Mead was suffering from sepsis. Credit: Family photo

Holly was visibly moved as Melissa went on to explain why she had a teddy bear with her.

"When William died we wanted to bring him home and and we wanted to cuddle him still, we had aching arms," she said.

"So we put some of his ashes into a teddy bear so we could bring him with us, so he's here with me today, because it's about him."