Our beloved husband, father and papa, Ronnie Lilley, passed away as a result of the devastating effects of sepsis on January 18th 2016.
We are raising funds for the Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (FEAT) www.featuk.org.uk : the only trust raising awareness of sepsis and raising funds for sepsis research in Scotland, established in 2012.
Sepsis is a relatively unknown condition (the terms 'blood poisoning' and 'septicemia' being more widely recognised) which has had its profile raised during this past week, being spoken about at length both in the media and in parliament as Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, apologised to the family of toddler William Mead, whose own sepsis diagnoses was missed repeatedly by GPs, and called for greater training of staff in the awareness and handling of the condition across England's NHS.
The irony of the recent news coverage has not escaped our family as Ronnie developed sepsis and died whilst in hospital, under the 24 hour care of our NHS.
Sepsis, if caught early enough, can be treated. We are all too aware of this fact as Ronnie had overcome sepsis before, at a different hospital, following a successful surgery at the end of 2013.
Doctors and nurses were quick to identify the early signs of the condition and it was managed and treated effectively with Ronnie making a full recovery.
Sepsis can arrive from nowhere when your immune system is low; this is why it is most prevalent in young children, older people and those following illness or surgery. A minor infection can thrive and attack the body’s own tissue from the inside out. There is a 36 hour window between developing sepsis and going into septic shock.
Sepsis currently affects 100,000 people nationwide yearly; close to 40,000 of those people do not make it.
Ronnie was admitted to hospital on the 16th of November 2015 for a prostate removal operation following a health assessment which deemed him fit for surgery.
On the 17th he had a successful prostate removal, spent the standard one day in the High Dependency Unit where all his vital signs were deemed strong and healthy enough for him to return to the ward where it was expected he would be home within 5 days.
From Thursday the 19th, we began voicing our concerns about his deteriorating physical and mental health to staff, noting the similarities from 2013, informing staff that Ronnie had developed sepsis in the past.
We were repeatedly told there was little more wrong with him than a chest infection, that there was no cause for concern, that Ronnie would probably be home on Monday.
On Monday the 23rd of November Ronnie went into complete organ failure due to the level of infection in his system and was taken to the Intensive Care Unit where he was kept in an induced coma, where he received several procedures and two operations to overcome the condition and where he battled for his life for 56 days (one for every year of his life) before passing away on day 57.
Yearly, sepsis kills more people than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV/AIDS combined.
This is not acceptable for such a common and treatable condition.
We thank you for your donations in Ronnie’s name to aid the work that FEAT do.
We hope to raise awareness of such a dangerous, worryingly common condition which remains too far under the radar.
We ultimately hope to see specialist sepsis training mandatory for NHS staff so that no other family need experience this kind of avoidable loss.
For the time being, it is up to us to educate ourselves, to recognise the signs and demand our treatment.
Caroline, Erica and Ashley xx