Tom Ray was fit and healthy before he contracted the condition – caused by the body’s immune system going into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection, reducing blood
supply and causing multiple organ failure – at the age of 38 in 1999.
He spent five months in a coma before waking up to discover both arms, both legs and part of his face had been amputated to save his life.
His wife Nicola gave birth to their son, Freddy, while he was still in a coma and they lost their business and had to sell their home.
The 2016 film Starfish, starring Tom Riley and Joanne Froggatt, tells the family’s story and now the couple are coming to Hull as guest speakers at the Hull Sepsis Congress on June 18.
Clare O’Brien, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Sepsis working at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, said: “Hearing how sepsis impacted on Tom and Nicola’s lives will be a deeply moving experience and we’re grateful they are coming to share their story with us.”
Hull’s A&E department sees at least 50 patients with sepsis every month, while others already in hospital with other illnesses and injuries can also develop sepsis.
Around 90 per cent of patients brought to A&E with signs of severe infection are now screened for sepsis. The vast majority who prove positive for sepsis receive life-saving antibiotics within an hour.
Sharing the stage with the Rays at the Bonus Arena, will be Dr Michael J. Porter, a specialist in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Central Lancashire, who will talk about research into the causes of sepsis, its prevention and treatment.
FEAT, a charity set up in memory of the Dr Fiona Agnes and her daughter Isla, who both died of sepsis in 2012, will also present their work.
Hull NHS staff will address delegates about the need to check for sepsis.
Infectious Diseases Consultant Dr Patrick Lilley will present the latest research into the E-coli bacterium and Clinical Outcomes Manager Chris Johnson will explain how staff can learn from previous cases of sepsis.
Midwife Melanie Lee will talk about sepsis awareness in antenatal classes and Emergency Consultant Dr Liz Herrieven will educate delegates on treating children with sepsis.
People can visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hull-sepsis-congress-tickets-50970684690 to book tickets, which are free for students and range from £26 to £100 for other healthcare professionals. Early bird prices are on offer for bookings before March 31.
SIGNS OF SEPSIS
If your child is under five, call 999 or head straight for A&E if they have any of these symptoms – looks mottled or bluish, is very lethargic or difficult to wake, feels abnormally cold to the touch, is breathing very fast, has a fit or convulsion, has a rash that does not fade when pressed.
In older children or adults, early symptoms of sepsis may include a high temperature or low body temperature, chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat, fast breathing.
Symptoms of severe sepsis include feeling dizzy or faint, confusion or disorientation, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, slurred speech, severe muscle pain, severe breathlessness, less urine production than normal, cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin and loss of consciousness.