Mum 'devastated' sepsis failings continue 10 years on from son's death

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A mum from Cornwall has spoken of her devastation as a new report shows sepsis failings continue 10 years after her son's death.

Melissa Mead lost her one-year-old son William to sepsis in 2014.

"I don't think there's anything worse than losing a child," she said.

"But to then be told that he could have and should have been saved with better care is just truly devastating."

She had raised concerns of sepsis which were dismissed by doctors at the time.

"I was ticking off all these symptoms that William had, that showed what sepsis was and clearly the doctor hadn't been thinking about sepsis when he examined William on the last occasion that we took him in which was less than 36 hours before he died."

An inquest into William's death found 16 failings in his care and four missed opportunities to save his life.

William Mead was one when he died of sepsis in 2014. Credit: ITV News

His case is one one of those highlighted in a new report by the NHS Ombudsman outlining the errors leading to avoidable sepsis deaths.

These include delays in diagnosing and treating sepsis, poor communication between healthcare staff, sub-standard record keeping and missed opportunities for follow-up care.

The report – Spotlight on sepsis: your stories, your rights – follows the publication of a previous document, Time to Act, in 2013.

It said “the same serious failings are still happening” a decade on, and that “significant improvements are urgently needed to avoid more fatalities”.

It added that “action on sepsis” is “urgently needed” and should be shaped by patient experiences.

The Parliamentary and Healthcare Ombudsman, Rob Behrens told ITV News West Country: "There are still people dying unnecessarily from sepsis as a result of a failure to diagnose it quickly enough and understand what is happening to individuals."

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said: “The safety of all patients is of vital importance, and we have made significant improvements to strengthen protections for patients including publishing the first NHS Patient Safety Strategy.

“The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is looking at how best to update guidance on the diagnosis and response to sepsis, to ensure the best treatment is always provided quickly and we are exploring how sepsis guidance can be provided in the training of healthcare workers."

Melissa hopes lessons can finally be learnt to ensure other families don't have to endure the same tragic loss: "I can't get my son back and we haven't just lost our son he's lost his life as well, and his future and tomorrow there could be another William that's lost and that is not ok."