My daughter Kelly was just 30 years old when she died of sepsis on 22nd August 2013. Kelly was a very lively and bubbly person, she had a dog and her own house and recently found happiness in a stable relationship.
During the first week of August Kelly visited the GP several occasions with signs of UTI, she was prescribed antibiotics and these were changed as she was still presenting the same symptoms and she was not getting any better.
On 10th August 2013 Kelly was admitted to hospital at [11.23] with suspected UTI. She was hot and feverish and had difficulty passing urine. She was also experiencing an itchy face and scalp with some mild erythema. There was blood and protein in her urine and her white blood cell count was only 2.5. All symptoms of early Sepsis. Kelly was given antibiotics at 14.15. (A time lapse of at least 3 hours). At 19.30 Kelly told me she still had stomach pain and she was extremely tired and lethargic.
Kelly remained in hospital 11th August on an intravenous antibiotic drip. She was still very hot and her skin was constantly itching. She was prescribed different pain relief and steroid cream for her skin.
On 12th August the doctor told Kelly she was improving, her temperature had come down slightly and her blood results were better. Kelly was discharged on 12th August 2013 with oral antibiotics and pain relief. The staff involved in Kelly’s care over this weekend did not consider or recognise the early signs of sepsis.
Kelly clearly was not well when she got home with a temperature, headache, being sick and continually saying her skin was itching, but I expected to see some improvement as the week went on. I observed Kelly deteriorate throughout the week with the above symptoms and a fever. Kelly went to the GP who prescribed her different antibiotics again and the GP took more blood tests.
On the evening of Saturday 17th August Kelly then developed a severe red rash and she rang NHS Direct 111. The person she spoke to arranged for an out of hours GP appointment at 8.30am Sunday 18th August.
On Sunday 18th August 2013 Kelly was admitted to hospital with what we still thought was UTI. Kelly was disorientated, very feverish, had high heart rate and low blood pressure. She was put on High Dependency and commenced with fluids and antibiotics before eventually being moved to Intensive Care at 23.30pm
On Monday 19th August Kelly continues to deteriorate, she was given blood pressure support medication and she was becoming increasingly breathless requiring high concentrations of oxygen.
On Tuesday 20th August Kelly had a profound drop in her blood cell count, platelets and neutrophils. Her rash was more widespread.
On Wednesday 21st August Kelly continued to deteriorate needing increasing support of blood pressure and oxygen. Kelly was sedated, intubated and mechanically ventilated. She had a chest x-ray which suggested a possible acute lung injury.
On 22nd August Kelly’s liver and kidney function worsened and she was put on a dialysis machine. Kelly now was on 100% oxygen. Despite maximal multiorgan support Kelly continued to deteriorate and at 22.22 on 22nd August she died.
The inquest into Kelly’s death was held on 21st March 2014. The conclusion was that Kelly died of the consequences of an overwhelming infection of unknown origin.
After the inquest we had a meeting with the hospital to discuss Kelly’s care. At the meeting we were informed by the Medical Director when he reviewed Kelly’s case that it became apparent that the discharge blood test (12th August) on Kelly’s first admission, which was documented as showing a white blood cell count of 4, was recorded inaccurately and the white cell count was., in fact, lower at 1.6. The Medical Director said this may clearly influenced the decision to discharge her and also he said they need to make sure that patients who are neutropenic in A&E are given antibiotics early and for them to think about and deal with sepsis as early as possible.
We have all been left absolutely devastated by Kelly’s death and each day find it very difficult to cope. We do not want any other family to have to go through what we are going through particularly as we were told that if the doctors acted quicker and provided proper care Kelly may well have survived.
A 2nd inquest……Because of this admission by the hospital the Coroner had to reopen the inquest. This eventually took place on 18th November 2015 – over 2 years since Kelly died.