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Adele praises life-saving sepsis care at North Tyneside General Hospital

Friday, 12 September, 2014
Adele praises life-saving sepsis care at North Tyneside General Hospital

A mother-of-four whose life was saved by quick-thinking staff at North Tyneside General Hospital is helping to raise awareness of the signs of one of the UK’s biggest killers.

To mark World Sepsis Day on Saturday 13 September, Adele Joicey is working with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as part of a major £433,000 project to help tackle sepsis in its hospitals and provide safe and effective care to patients who display symptoms.

It is a major focus nationally for the NHS and Northumbria Healthcare’s project comes as the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman called for greater improvements in the treatment of sepsis.

Adele has shared her story with the trust which will be used to educate staff about the signs and symptoms of the condition, also referred to as septicaemia or blood poisoning, and the treatment required in the crucial first hour.

And as part of this work, Adele returned to the hospital to personally thank the doctors and nurses who quickly diagnosed her, ensuring that she was able to be at her twin sons’ first birthdays.

Sepsis is the body’s reaction to an infection and means the body attacks its own organs and tissues. Nationally it accounts for 37,000 deaths every year – more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer put together.

Adele, 40, went to A&E at North Tyneside hospital on 28 August feeling unwell but had no idea she had sepsis. With her high temperature and heart rate, the triage nurse quickly spotted she was seriously ill and she was taken straight in to see a doctor who administered a set of interventions known as ‘Sepsis Six’. These include antibiotics and intravenous fluid and if done in the crucial first hour, these can double a patient’s chances of recovery.

These worked well for Adele and she was soon able to be transferred to Ward 18 for her ongoing care and after a few days she was well enough to go home.

Adele, from Forest Hall, said: “I couldn’t have received better treatment, it was first class and I felt in safe hands throughout.

“The team in A&E were lovely and without them I wouldn’t have been around to celebrate my twins’ first birthday. They would have grown up not knowing who I was which is quite scary really.

“I wish I’d known more about sepsis as I didn’t recognise the signs. I was just going to head to bed with some painkillers.

“When I called in sick at work my manager was so concerned about how I sounded he sent a member of the team round who then talked me into going to hospital. If I had just gone to bed as I planned I’d probably be dead.

“I’d like to thank everyone who treated me and for that reason I’m more than happy to help Northumbria Healthcare to raise awareness of the condition among its staff.”

Adele’s twin sons Ryan and Luke turned a year old on 4 September. She is also mum to Erin and Esme.

Dr Chris Yeoman was the junior doctor who treated Adele.

He said: “You hear about sepsis at medical school however it’s not until you start to see patients that it really hits home how serious a condition it is and how little people know about the symptoms.

“Adele was really fortunate that she came into A&E when she did and she was diagnosed early. Here at Northumbria, the sepsis campaign is really visible and I think it is a great way of raising awareness and reminding staff of what to do and, in Adele’s case, it has shown that it really does save lives.”

Dr Eliot Sykes, consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care who is leading the sepsis campaign at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Sepsis is a key focus for the trust as we strive to deliver safe and effective care to all of our patients. With calls nationally for more to be done to reduce the number of deaths from sepsis, we are proud to be leading the way on this important safety priority.

“As Adele’s story shows, sepsis can strike at any time and it could have had devastating effects if she hadn’t attended A&E when she did and our staff hadn’t have acted so quickly.

“The actions of our staff demonstrate that our sepsis campaign is raising awareness of the symptoms, however with 9,000 staff across a host of community and hospital sites across Northumberland and North Tyneside, we must spread the message as far and as wide as we can to in order to save more lives.”

As part of the campaign and to mark World Sepsis Day, the trust is holding a series of staff roadshows to raise awareness this week.

Julie Mellor, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, has said that a year on from its report ‘Time to Act’ thousands of people are still dying each year from sepsis because not enough improvements have been made by the NHS.