29/03/2019 – Following the earlier announcement from Hollyoaks that Lily McQueen will develop fatal sepsis, the UK Sepsis Trust announce that they have advised on the storyline which will feature in upcoming episodes. The sepsis arises from Lily self-harming, which has been an ongoing storyline since 2017. The UK Sepsis Trust has worked closely with the team on the script to ensure that the subject matter has been dealt with sensitively and accurately.

Sepsis is the body’s overreaction to an infection in which the immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. Sepsis does not discriminate: it claims more lives in the UK every year than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined, and can arise from something as innocuous as a small cut, insect bite or urine infection. If not diagnosed and treated quickly, sepsis can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. Every year in the UK, at least 250,000 people develop sepsis. 52,000 of those lose their lives to the condition (that’s 140 people every single day), and 60,000 suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects. Despite the statistics, awareness of sepsis amongst the public and healthcare professionals is astonishingly low. Earlier diagnosis and treatment could prevent at least 14,000 unnecessary deaths every year in the UK and save millions of pounds.

These are the warning signs of sepsis in adults that might have prevented Lily’s death, had they been identified earlier:

Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discoloured

Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust comments “It’s been fantastic working with the Hollyoaks team on this storyline to highlight how potentially devastating sepsis can be. Although cases like Lily’s, in which sepsis arises from a wound infection, only represent around 10% of incidences of sepsis, the ‘killer condition’ can arise from any infection and strikes indiscriminately, affecting the previously fit and healthy.”

The key to ending preventable deaths from sepsis is awareness, and we’re so grateful to Hollyoaks for helping to raise the profile of a condition that affects so many and yet is still so poorly recognised. Together we want to encourage everyone, not just professionals to ‘Just ask: could it be sepsis?’ and to change the way sepsis is handled in the UK.”