A mum who has been campaigning to raise awareness of sepsis since the death of her son in 2014 is to appear on BBC’s Panorama to discuss the deadly disease.
Melissa Mead appeared on This Morning earlier this year to discuss the tragic loss of her son William, and reduced host Holly Willoughby to tears with her heartbreaking experience.
She told of how William had been misdiagnosed time and time again, and the report into his death identified 16 mistakes that were made by healthcare professionals. She had approached everyone from GPs to out of hours doctors and emergency services, all of whom failed to spot the symptoms caused by an underlying chest infection and pneumonia.
Since then, Melissa has worked tirelessly to have awareness and diagnosis of sepsis, an infection of the blood, taken more seriously. The fact that symptoms are so often misdiagnosed is all the more shocking because the infection is actually the UK’s second biggest killer – with more fatalities than breast, bowel, prostate cancer and road traffic accidents combined.
Along with another family from their area who had also lost a son due to the condition, Melissa and her husband Paul pushed for changes in the legislation around diagnosing sepsis, prompting office healthcare body NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to reform their official stance. Doctors and nurses should now treat people who show signs of sepsis with the same urgency as those with chest pains – but the family still has a long way to go.
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During their Panorama appearance, the Mead family speak openly about coming to terms with the loss of their one year old son and the devastating, avoidable turn of events that lead to his death.
Next week, Melissa will head to London and then to Leeds’ NHS Trust Sepsis Awareness events, in honour of Sepsis Awareness Month, which runs throughout September.
‘Children are 2,000 times more likely to get sepsis than they are meningitis,’ she told Cornwall Live. ‘So it’s important we educate them.’