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Public Health Wales Issue Sepsis Winter Health Warning

The devastating death of Ellie Penrose, an aspiring triathlete, who died from sepsis despite having twice visited A&E could have been avoided.

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The eighteen-year-old was wrongly diagnosed as suffering from a stomach bug and prescribed pain killers before she was ‘inappropriately discharged’ died hours later from meningitis. Her symptoms included sickness, a headache, an aversion to light and blotches on her skin – all clear signs of sepsis.

An inquest heard that she was not given antibiotics until two hours after she visited A&E for a second time.

The symptoms of sepsis are your body’s warning signs, which a qualified health care professional should most certainly recognise.

If you think that you may have any of the symptoms of sepsis, the NHS advises that you should act immediately and call for an ambulance. The symptoms of sepsis are your body’s warning signs, which a qualified health care professional should most certainly recognise.

Some of the symptoms of sepsis may be confused with the flu. According to the BBC, an estimated 1,800 people in Wales die a year from sepsis, which can be mistaken for influenza early on.

Dr Tom Connor, a microbiologist for SIRU and honouree consultant with Public Health Wales, told BBC Wales: "You shouldn't be there thinking I'm going to be a martyr, I'm going to see if it clears up."

For further information on the symptoms of sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, see our free, printable advice guide here

In December, the NHS launched a sepsis awareness campaign. In an effort to educate people on the symptoms and risks of sepsis, leaflets have been distributed in casualty departments, GP surgeries and maternity wards.

Prior to this, in November it was announced that hospitals will incur docked NHS funding if measures aren’t made to meet targets in tackling sepsis. For more information, see: Hospitals Face Penalty For Failing to Tackle Sepsis

I am pursuing a successful case on behalf of a three-year-old boy who had both his legs, below the knee, and most of his fingers amputated after doctors failed to spot the signs of toxic shock syndrome and it is vital to both know the signs and act on them quickly to avoid such devastating consequences.

For more information on Reuben’s case, and insights from Reuben’s mum, see: Toddler Has Legs And Fingers Amputated After Doctors Fail to Spot Signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome


Tim Deeming is a principal lawyer, specialising in clinical and medical negligence claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Cambridge.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

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