If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Jess’s thousands of thanks to hospital for saving her mum’s life

Thursday, 06 November, 2014
Jess’s thousands of thanks to hospital for saving her mum’s life

A woman from Whitley Bay has raised more than £3,000 to thank the staff at North Tyneside General Hospital who saved her mum’s life.

Jess Callaghan ran the Great North Run and helped her family hold a social evening for the team in critical care who cared for her mum Jan she fell seriously ill with sepsis, which is one of the UK’s biggest killers, in November last year.

Sepsis, also referred to as septicaemia or blood poisoning, 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.

Jess’s donation comes as Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is working to tackle sepsis in its hospitals and provide safe and effective care to patients who display symptoms as part of a major project.

For Jan, 59, from Monkseaton, sepsis affected all of her body. She was in a coma for almost two weeks, had multiple organ failure and was only kept alive by hospital machines.

Thanks to the expert care of the team in intensive care at North Tyneside hospital, Jan recovered and, is now back to full fitness and has returned to work.

Jess, 30, said: “My mam initially went into critical care at North Tyneside hospital ‘feeling ill’ with suspected pneumonia and mild sepsis.

“Two days later the sepsis took over her body and started to shut everything down, we were told she would die that night and she was given the last rites.

“The next few hours and days are a bit of a memory blur, but the amazing staff in the unit worked so hard to save my mam’s life.

“Not only did they work to save her, but the care and support they showed my dad, myself and my sister, as well as the rest of our family and friends will never be forgotten. From keeping us informed about every detail, to making makeshift beds and getting us food, I cannot thank them enough.

“I wanted to do something to show my, and my family’s, appreciation and thanks to the amazing staff. We are all so grateful for the care my mum received and I would like to thank everyone who supported me in some way.”

Jess raised around £3,200 for the unit from the run and the social evening through Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright Charity which works hard to provide the extras which ensure patients of all ages have the best experience possible during their stay in hospital.

Sue Ewart, matron for critical care at North Tyneside General Hospital, said: “We would like to thank Jess and her family for the generous donation. All donations we receive go towards helping to improve our patients’ experiences of receiving their care with us.

“We strive to deliver the highest quality of care to all of our patients and their families and we are truly touched to hear Jess’s kind words.

 “Jan’s story demonstrates just how serious sepsis can be and how important it is for the signs to be spotted early in order for patients to receive treatment and, given time, make a full recovery.

“Sepsis is a key focus for the trust and 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.”

Northumbria Healthcare is one of only a handful of organisations across the country to have been awarded funding by the Health Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK.

Northumbria received £433,000 and the project will focus on raising awareness among staff of the symptoms of sepsis, which nationally is a major focus for the NHS, and the treatment required in the crucial first hour.

Over the next two years, the project will be rolled out to all wards across the trust’s hospitals, covering all specialties.