Cycle to raise awareness of Sepsis
Friday 30th August 2013, 10:00AM BST.
A new campaign to raise awareness of a potentially deadly condition gets under way today.
As part of the initiative to boost knowledge of sepsis – which kills more people in the UK than lung cancer – two doctors are cycling from Holyrood to Westminster.
Dr Dan Beckett and Dr Claire Gordon will be waved off on the Cycle for Sepsis by Craig Stobo, whose wife died along with their unborn child after she contracted the condition.
Both doctors are consultants in acute medicine and are campaigning for better diagnosis and care for people who develop the condition.
Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection causes shock and multiple organ failure, often leading to death.
The most common examples of infection that trigger sepsis are pneumonia, urinary tract infections and meningitis.
Mr Stobo said: “My family knows how devastating it can be to lose a loved one from sepsis.
“Clinicians in Scotland are doing more to improve diagnosis and care, and greater awareness of the symptoms within the general public will also help to ensure that more lives are saved.
“I’d urge people to read these symptoms and be aware of them. They could help to save a life.”
Cases of sepsis have risen in number by around 13% every year since 2003, with Healthcare Improvement Scotland joining up with the UK Sepsis Trust for the new awareness-raising campaign.
Symptoms of the condition can include slurred speech, extremely painful muscles, not passing urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.
Dr Beckett, from NHS Forth Valley and Dr Gordon, who works in the NHS Lothian area, will take six days to cycle from Edinburgh to London.
Speaking ahead of the trip, Dr Beckett said: “We’re cycling from the Scottish Parliament to Westminster in order to help raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis amongst the general public.
“Sepsis kills around 37,000 people every year in the UK and equates to 82 deaths for every mile of our cycle journey.
“Scotland already has a national programme for improving the outcomes from sepsis and is therefore ahead of the field in the early diagnosis and reliable delivery of care for the many thousands of people affected by this life-threatening condition.
“As clinicians working in acute medicine, we see first-hand the devastating impact sepsis can have on patients and their families, and we want to do everything we can to prevent sepsis and to ensure that anyone who develops sepsis receives the best possible care.”
Mr Stobo last month launched his own charity to raise awareness of sepsis, with the Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust (Feat) named in memory of his late wife.
Ms Agnew, a GP, was 35 weeks pregnant when she developed symptoms of the condition and her daughter Isla was stillborn.
Doctors could not save the 38-year-old mother and she died a few hours later.
Mr Stobo, a tax manager, fell ill at the same time as his wife in August last year, although the source of infection has not been established. He has recovered and is father to the couple’s child Robert.