Jack Adcock death: Hospital employs specialist sepsis team

Jack Adcock Image copyright Adcock family
Image caption Jack Adcock died in February 2011 after staff failed to realise the seriousness of his condition

A specialist team dedicated to tackling sepsis has been deployed at a hospital where a six-year-old boy died from the condition.

Jack Adcock suffered a fatal cardiac arrest caused by sepsis at Leicester Royal Infirmary when staff failed to correctly diagnose him.

The condition, a serious complication of an infection, kills about 37,000 people a year in England.

The team, believed to be a first in England, will assist emergency staff.

University Hospitals of Leicester Trust said about 40 patients each week presented with high-risk sepsis - carrying a risk of death of at least 20%.

Last year the hospital was ordered by the Care Quality Commission to improve its handling of sepsis cases.

Dead in hours

A doctor and a nurse at the hospital received suspended sentences for manslaughter by gross negligence after Jack's death in 2011.

He had been admitted with vomiting and diarrhoea and died about 11 hours later.

On the day of his death, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba stopped performing CPR after wrongly assuming Jack was subject to a do-not-resuscitate order.

What is Sepsis?

  • Sepsis happens when the body's immune system - the way the body responds to bugs and germs - goes into overdrive
  • Initially it can be quite mild and start anywhere - from a cut on the finger to a chest or urine infection, for example.
  • But when the immune system overreacts, this can lead to an unintended but catastrophic attack on the body
  • If left untreated a cascade of reactions occurs - from shock to organ failure and even death

Read more: Why can sepsis be so hard to spot?

Image copyright Sepsis Trust

Lead consultant John Parker said the new sepsis team would include medics from a variety of backgrounds, including intensive and critical care.

He said: "The team will support the emergency team to recognise and immediately treat anyone who we suspect has sepsis.

"They will then help make sure that patient gets the right care, from emergency surgery to intensive care support."

Image caption Leicester Royal Infirmary has been criticised for its record on sepsis

Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, welcomed the initiative: "I think it's really treating sepsis as seriously as we treat major trauma and that's what's needed if we're to save lives. I hope this sets a precedent for other acute trusts to follow.

"I'm concerned without robust investment and financial rewards for delivering excellence in care being put in place by the government, it's going to be difficult for many trusts to justify such a service until we see evidence of its effectiveness."

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