Fatal accident news


MBRRACE - Sepsis and maternal deaths

The recent report, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care, from UK maternity services watchdog MBRRACE, found that in 2013-2015, 41% of the women who died during pregnancy, childbirth or postnatally, might have had better outcomes with improved care.

Whilst the number of deaths from indirect causes of maternal sepsis had decreased overall – an improvement they attribute in part to raised awareness of the condition resulting from the campaigning work of organisations such as the UK Sepsis Trust - 24 of the reviewed maternal deaths between 2013 and 2015 had sepsis as their primary infective cause. Nearly half of these were directly caused by sepsis and four arose from urinary tract sepsis or wound infection after caesarean section.

The report referred to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new international definition of maternal sepsis for 2017, which describes maternal sepsis as "a life threatening condition defined as organ dysfunction resulting from infection during pregnancy, childbirth, post-abortion or post-partum period."

Multiple opportunities are being missed at all stages

It went on to make specific recommendations for prevention and treatment of sepsis in maternity services, many of which reflected the panel’s identification of a recurrent, dominant theme that multiple opportunities are being missed at all stages of pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, birth and postpartum to anticipate and take steps to reduce the patient’s risk.

With this in mind, recommendations were made for high level action to ensure that it is seen as the responsibility of all health professionals to facilitate opportunistic counselling and advice. Preventative measures should include increasing uptake of the flu jab, as influenza is a known cause of maternal sepsis-related death. In the recognition that women might be put off by having to attend yet another appointment, the report recommended that as pregnant women attend maternity services during pregnancy, funding should be made available for the delivery of influenza immunisation in maternity services as part of their antenatal care, rather than as a separate appointment in primary care.

Recommendations for the recognition and prevention of postpartum sepsis included the somewhat obvious instruction to community midwives to have a thermometer with them when they carry out home visits so that they can check the temperature of postpartum women who are unwell. The panel regarded having the ability to check the postpartum mother’s temperature as a minimum requirement, along with checking blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate. They recommended that the new NICE Guidelines (not due for publication until 2020) should make this guidance clear.

In addition, health professionals were reminded to check the unwell woman’s overall clinical condition rather than relying solely on her MEOWS score which tracks changes over time in observations such as temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate. This is another recurrent theme, echoing the findings of the RCOG’s Each Baby Counts report which reminded maternity healthcare providers that accidents (and claims) could be avoided if they would assess the patient taking into account the full clinical picture rather than just looking at the CTG.

Following a reminder that the key actions for diagnosis and sepsis are:

  • Timely recognition
  • Fast administration of intravenous antibiotics
  • Quick involvement of experts with senior review noted as essential

…other recommendations included "declaring sepsis" – by invoking a protocol to ensure that all relevant members of the multidisciplinary team are informed, aware and act upon a potential diagnosis of sepsis, again drawing on the importance of escalation and communication between the various disciplines of health professionals who together are responsible for the woman’s care.

Multiple presentations by the woman, even in different settings (eg at the GPs surgery, then at A&E) should be seen as a "red flag" warning, requiring careful review and escalation to senior clinicians.

The panel emphasised that chronic illness and immunosuppression are in themselves risk factors for sepsis. Women with chronic illness, such as diabetes or sickle cell trait which put them at increased risk of infection should, therefore, have a lower threshold for admission to hospital, antibiotic administration and input from senior clinicians.

"Critical care is a management modality not a place."

In the event of a shortage of ITU or HDU beds, the report reminds healthcare providers that "critical care is a management modality not a place" If a woman is ill enough to need intensive care, she also needs close observation and support whilst awaiting transfer to ITU. The requisite level of care should be provided wherever the woman is located and not delayed whilst waiting for a critical care unit bed.

Whilst the significant reduction in maternal deaths from sepsis between 2010-2012 and 2013-2015 is a welcome demonstration of the value of the awareness raising work of the UK Sepsis Trust, there is much work still to do if the government is to meet its target of halving the number of maternal deaths overall by 2030.

Anticipating and reducing risk, adopting responsibility, communication and timely escalation emerge as the essential learning points for health practitioners, especially in times of high activity in maternity and A&E units.

If a family member or friend has died due to medical negligence and has left behind dependant children we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

MBRRACE UK's latest maternal deaths report (2013-2015) says no reduction in maternal death rate

MBRRACE-UK have published their 2017 report, Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care: lessons learned to inform maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2013-2015.

MBRRACE-UK is an acronym for ‘Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK’, a national collaborative programme which audits and investigates maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths. The 2017 report forms part of the NHS-funded Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme, which aims to promote and increase quality improvement in patient outcomes through clinical audit and review. 

The ‘Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care’ report summarises the lessons that a team of leading clinicians believes the NHS should learn from their review of the care of 556 women who died during or up to a year after the end of their pregnancies between 2013-2015.

Maternal deaths are reported to MBRRACE-UK by healthcare staff, coroners and other sources and are cross-referenced against national records. The deceased’s medical records are then anonymised before being reviewed by a pathologist and an obstetrician to establish the cause of death for the purpose of the review. They then undergo detailed scrutiny of the deceased woman’s care by a large panel of obstetricians, midwives, pathologists and other specialists, such as GPs, intensive care or emergency medicine specialists, psychiatrists or physicians, depending on which areas of medicine are relevant to the particular woman’s treatment. The reviews are then further examined by a multi-disciplinary group who identify the main themes and lessons to be learned which they present in their reports, together with their recommendations for future care.

The report combines a statistical analysis of the cases reviewed to facilitate comparison of outcomes year on year. Alongside the stats, we are given brief but more detailed insights into the events leading up to the deaths of some of the women, giving a clinical context to the commentary on their care. However, the most fitting context for the report’s findings is presented in the foreword, by Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, when she says:

It is impossible to read a report of this nature, including the details of the women affected, and not feel a pressing need to act. We owe it to the 359 motherless children, and countless other family members and friends of the women whose deaths are reported here, to do all we can to try to prevent women from dying in the future.”

In 2013-2015, out of every 100,000 maternities in the UK there were 8.8 maternal deaths (during pregnancy or up to six weeks after the end of the pregnancy).

The figures suggest that there was no change in the overall maternal death rate since MBRRACE’s report on UK maternal deaths between 2010-2012 – a worrying finding which prompted a call for urgent further action if the government is to achieve its target of reducing maternal deaths in England by 50% by 2030.

Equally concerning was the assessors’ finding that 41% of the women who died might have had a different outcome with improvements in their care. 

Two thirds of the women who died had pre-existing physical or mental health problems. Whilst these patients are at higher risk, they should also be easier to identify at an earlier stage as needing specialist maternity care. The recurring, dominant theme was that there are multiple opportunities to reduce women’s risk of complications through early and forward planning of the care of women who are known to have pre-existing medical problems. It must be seen as the responsibility of all health professionals to use these multiple opportunities opportunistically and resources should be made available for them to do so. The report cited provision of appropriate advice and optimal medication before pregnancy, specialist referral in early pregnancy and planning of antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care, along with postnatal advice about risks and planning for future pregnancies as the key improvements which are needed to prevent women from dying or experiencing severe complications.

Specific recommendations were also made for improvements in the care of women with various conditions, including epilepsy (which accounted for 52% of the cases in which better care would have altered the outcome), sepsis, stroke, haemorrhage and mental health problems.

The report recommended that all maternity units should have escalation policies for periods of high activity including plans to obtain more (including more senior level) obstetric and anaesthetic assistance as well as increasing midwifery staffing levels.

If a family member or friend has suffered a fatality through medical negligence we may be able to help. Contact us on 0800 884 0718 or email mednegclaims@boyesturner.com for a free initial discussion.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - RCOG call for increased screening uptake

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, Boyes Turner welcome the FSRH (Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists) and RCOG’s call for urgent action to increase cervical screening attendance rates.

If you’ve been following Jo’s Trust’s campaign #SmearForSmear you’ll already know the importance and the benefits of regular cervical screening in reducing your risk of cancer. However, NHS Digital have reported that attendance for free, NHS cervical screening during NHS Cervical Screening Programme 2016-17 was at its lowest in 20 years. Whilst increasing numbers of women are being invited for screening, the uptake in the highest risk age group of 25 to 49-year-olds was only 69.6%.

Suggested reasons for the low attendance rate include local authority budget-driven cuts reducing the number of local settings in which cervical screening is offered, such as SRH clinics. Meanwhile, overburdened GPs are missing opportunities to catch those who have missed out by offering opportunistic appointments for screening at their surgeries.

These additional barriers are simply compounding the problem already encountered with existing barriers (such as fear, lack of awareness) which charities like Jo’s Trust are working so hard to overcome, making it more important than ever to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of attending your appointment and having your smear.

Early detection of abnormal cells is the key to the avoidance of cervical cancer, along with HPV vaccination among pre-teen and teenage girls.

When left undetected and untreated, cervical cancer not only causes death, but leaves its survivors with lifelong physical, emotional and psychological injury.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Should cohabitees receive bereavement damages

This was a question recently faced by the Court of Appeal after Ms Jakki Smith took the Secretary of State for Justice to Court for breaching her human rights.

Who can claim bereavement damages?

The Fatal Accidents Act 1976 gives rise to the right to claim bereavement damages. The Act allows the wife, husband or civil partner of the deceased to claim damages for their bereavement. Payment is also made to the parents of the deceased where the deceased was a minor. The current payment for bereavement damages is £12,980. At the time that Ms Smith’s partner, John Bulloch, died it was £11,800 and this was the amount she was seeking.

Does a cohabitee get anything?

Unlike the payment for bereavement damages, which a cohabitee is not entitled to claim under the Act, a cohabitee can claim for a financial dependency on the deceased. This claim is possible where the deceased and his partner have been cohabiting for at least 2 years before the death and have been cohabiting as husband and wife.

What was Ms Smith’s case?

Ms Smith argued that by excluding her from those people entitled to claim bereavement damages the Government was breaching her Human Rights. The Court of Appeal agreed with Ms Smith and found that section 1A of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 was incompatible with Article 14 in conjunction with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Unfortunately, although Ms Smith’s case will set a precedent for other unmarried cohabiting partners to seek bereavement damages, she will not benefit from the decision. This is because although the Secretary of State was acting in a way which was incompatible with Ms Smith’s convention rights, they could not have acted differently due to the provision of the Fatal Accidents Act which does not allow cohabitees to claim bereavement damages.  

How does this affect mesothelioma and asbestos claims?

In giving his judgment Sir Terence Etherton MR commented on the declining “popularity of the institution of marriage and the increase in the number of cohabiting couples”. According to the Office of National Statistics in a report on “Families and Households” in 2015, “cohabiting couples continues to be the fastest growing family type in the UK, reaching 3.2 million cohabiting families”.

This decision can be used as a precedent to persuade defendants that bereavement damages should be paid to cohabitees in line with financial dependency claims under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. 

Bereavement damages frequently form a part of mesothelioma and asbestos claims and therefore this is a decision which will benefit a number of our clients. However, the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 has not yet changed to allow a statutory entitlement to bereavement damages for cohabitees and we look forward to seeing a change to the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 in the near future.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week - Reducing the Risk of HPV

During Cervical Cancer Prevention Week Boyes Turner are supporting cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in raising awareness about cervical cancer. The theme of this year’s prevention week is “Reduce Your Risk”, and that of those you care for, by understanding how this devastating condition can be recognised, treated and prevented. 

We now know that the vast majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV, or the human papilloma virus, an infection passed on by any form of sexual contact. So, let’s be clear about a few facts at the outset:

  • 80% of people will be infected with a genital HPV infection at some time in their lives.
  • Your first or only sexual contact with anyone at all can put you at risk.
  • HPV infection does not imply sexual promiscuity or infidelity.

The problem with HPV is that, whilst it is very common, it is a symptomless infection. It can go undetected in the body for many years. Some people’s strong immune systems enable them to clear themselves naturally of HPV. It is not known why some people’s bodies can and others’ can’t. In those who clear the infection, it can take about 12 to 18 months. Smoking is also known to inhibit the body’s ability to clear itself of HPV. When most people with HPV are unaware that they have been infected, it is not surprising that the infection is so widespread. It should be noted that merely having HPV does not in itself warrant treatment, but the silent yet prevalent existence of the infection makes screening for cervical cancer all the more important.

Most forms of HPV are harmless but some high-risk strains can cause changes in the cells of the cervix which, if undetected and treated, will ultimately lead to cervical cancer. If a smear test reveals abnormal cells and high-risk HPV you may be recalled for further examination.

Jo’s Trust estimates that 70% of cervical cancers are caused by just two high-risk types of HPV, both of which can now be prevented (in people who have not previously been infected) by HPV vaccinations which are currently available to girls on the NHS. In 2008 the NHS introduced free, routine HPV immunisation for girls aged 12 to 13, in the hope of protecting them from HPV before they become sexually active. Offered in schools but also available through GP surgeries, the vaccines are over 98% effective in preventing cervical abnormalities associated with the two high-risk HPV strains in women who have the full dose, and in preventing infection with new strains or reinfection of a cleared HPV. They are not effective where the person is already infected with HPV, which is why the NHS is offering immunisation to girls at such a young age.

With research indicating that the HPV vaccine could prevent two thirds of cervical cancers in women under the age of 30 by 2025, assuming 80% take-up of the vaccination, which is now being consistently achieved, there is good reason for optimism that we will succeed in overcoming this devastating condition.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2018 - Join us in supporting Jo's Trust's awareness campaign #SmearForSmear

From 22nd to 28th January Boyes Turner will be joining cervical cancer charity, Jo’s Trust, in urging women to #ReduceYourRisk - the theme of this year’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week campaign - support the campaign by sharing your #SmearForSmear lipstick selfies to raise awareness.   

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35, with 3,000 new cases diagnosed and 800 deaths from the disease in the UK each year. That’s two women dying each day from a disease that could be prevented in 75% of cases by cervical screening that is routinely available on the NHS for free.

A smear test only takes a few minutes once every three years for women aged 25 to 49 who, by virtue of their age, are most likely to develop cervical cancer, and every five years for women of 50 to 64. For women over 65, routine screening is only available to those who have had abnormal previous tests or who haven’t undergone screening from the age of 50. Every woman who is registered with a GP should be invited for screening. Yet the NHS reports that more than 1.2 million women could be risking their lives by not having a smear test, as attendance for cervical screening has dropped in the last year, leaving test rates the lowest that they have been for two decades.

Whilst the smear test only takes minutes, the impact of cervical cancer can last a lifetime - leaving partners and children bereaved and its treated survivors devastated by side-effects, such as infertility, premature menopause, impaired bowel and urinary function, painful sexual intercourse, fear of recurrence, pain and psychological damage.

Join us and Jo’s Trust, this Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, in urging female friends and family to #ReduceYourRisk and join us in promoting cervical cancer prevention by posting your lipstick #SmearForSmear selfie. For details on how to get involved, click here.

60 seconds with a medical negligence lawyer

Over the following year we will be sharing a series of question and answer articles about our day-to-day lives in the medical negligence team. This week, it’s Rachel Carey's turn, a solicitor in the team.

Rachel qualified in April 2016 and joined the Clinical Negligence team at Boyes Turner in November 2016. Rachel’s clients have suffered obstetric and gynaecological injuries, Erb’s palsy, pressure sores, disability resulting from delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer. She acts for the bereaved spouses and children of patients who have died as a result of negligent medical care.

What made you choose a career in clinical negligence?

The driving force behind my decision to study law and specialise in claimant clinical negligence work was my desire to help David, rather than Goliath. I have a keen interest in medicine and enjoy using my skills and expertise to help our clients get back on their feet or live a more fulfilling and stress free life following a medical accident. I find it incredibly satisfying to be in a position which allows me to guide clients through the legal process which I know many will find daunting and overwhelming.

Which personal skills does it take to succeed at this type of work? 

It is really important for a clinical negligence solicitor to have empathy, be able to show understanding and have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. As the majority of the medical accidents we deal with cause life changing injuries which devastating consequences to our clients and their families, I ensure that I always bear that in mind and treat them sensitively and patiently.

What is the most rewarding part of your work? 

I recently met with a young client’s Mum on a case where the hospital had admitted liability. She told me how relieved she was to know that, as a result of the compensation, her son, who has cerebral palsy, would be looked after and taken care of for the rest of his life when her and her husband were no longer able to. She was excited to be able to move into a more appropriately sized and adapted home which could cater for her son’s needs. I could see how much that meant to her and to know that the work I had been a part of had helped was incredibly rewarding and made me realise even more how important the work we do is for people.

Santa's little bikers need safety advice under the tree to go with their new wheels

Children are cycling on our busy roads at a younger and younger age, many from the age of five, according to new research from local child cyclist’s safety charity Cycle-Smart

With the Christmas peak in bike and helmet sales now upon us, the charity - as part of its #FiveSs campaign - is visiting schools across the Thames Valley to increase parent's and children's awareness of the need for properly fitted helmets and safer cycling practice - to mitigate risk of serious injury or death if new bikes and helmets are not accompanied by more effective, simple guidance on head protection and road safety. 

The national research from Cycle-Smart surveyed over 1,700 children in England aged 5-9, and found:

More than one in seven (15%) of 5-6 year olds now cycle on roads where there are cars;

The figure rises to 37% of 7-9 year olds;

Amongst boys in the 7-9 year old  44% were more likely to cycle on the road compared to 23% of girls;

Only 70% even own a helmet, and only 47% wear them every time they use their bike.

The last 6 months of road data (January- June 2017) shows a 24% increase in serious child cycling casualties compared to same 6 months last year.

Boyes Turner is proud to have sponsored a video for Cycle-Smart, released today, which gives simple to follow tips on helmet fitting and cycle safety.   

A snap-survey conducted last month by Cycle-Smart volunteers of 350 children, including 120 in the Reading, Newbury, Slough and wider Berkshire area, has revealed a worrying failure of children to wear properly fitted helmets:

Over 60% of under six-year-olds did not have straps secured properly under the chin or with the Y-shaped straps fitted correctly around the ears;

Over a quarter of under six-year-olds did not have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

For 6-14 year olds, over 40% didn’t have straps positioned and secured correctly, and 18% didn’t have the helmet positioned correctly on their heads.

Angela Lee, Founder and Chief Executive of Cycle-Smart, says:
"A lifetime of happy, healthy cycling is one of the greatest gifts parents can give their child. But a bike without a well-fitted helmet and the common-sense advice and training necessary to share the road with cars, vans and trucks could lead to unnecessary anguish. We're urging parents, bike shops and those responsible for educating our children to use the roads safely to come together to make sure this Christmas's bike bonanza leaves a safe and happy legacy in the New Year."

Claire Roantree, Trustee of Cycle-Smart and Partner at Boyes Turner LLP, says:
"Thousands of new bikes will be under the tree this Christmas. They're gifts that will create happier, healthier, more independent kids. However, it is an unavoidable fact that some of these bikes will lead to accidents. The risks shouldn't stop kids getting freer and fitter on their bikes. But it would be reckless if a major part of the gift wasn't parents, bike shops and schools coming together to ensure helmets are always well-fitted and advice is provided to the ever-younger kids sharing the roads with cars. We urge all parents of child cyclists to watch the Cycle-Smart video."

Croydon Tram Crash

The tram that derailed in Croydon on 9th November resulted in the death of seven people. It is known that the tram was travelling at three and a half times the speed limit when it approached a curve in the track, causing it to derail. In addition to those who died, eight people were taken to hospital with serious or life-changing injuries, including amputated limbs.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) said the tram, which was carrying 60 people, was travelling at 43.5mph in a 12mph zone. Initial inspection showed the driver did apply the brake after coming out of the tunnel but only enough to reduce his speed from 50mph to 43.5pmh. It was stated in RAIB’s report that there was no evidence of any track defect or obstruction on the track.  The investigation also found no malfunction of the braking system. The driver was subsequently arrested and is on bail on suspicion of manslaughter.

Transport for London (TfL) has offered to pay for the funerals of those who died but came in for criticism after it was revealed the families had not been told about it in person. It is expected there to be significant number of claims by people who were injured, and families of those who died in the accident. However, investigations are currently ongoing and the British Transport Police has appealed for witnesses. Solicitors for some of the families have called for the inquiry to be made public, saying TfL and the tram operator’s parent company First Group should move swiftly to accept blame and offer pay-outs. They have also said, if the insurance companies are proactive, payouts could begin as soon as the cause of the crash has been determined. However, if the insurance companies decide to fight the claims then it could be years before the victims or their families see any money. Depending on the outcome of the investigations, compensation to the victims will be provided by either TfL or First Group.

Tram accidents on such a scale have been rare in Britain, with the last passenger death in a crash having occurred in 1959. But since the crash MPs have called for the RAIB to consider whether safety systems that exist on national rail and tube networks, such as automatic braking, should be implemented for trams or light rail too.

Zarqa Rasab, of specialist personal injury firm Boyes Turner LLP, comments:

“This is an exceptionally tragic incident which could have been easily avoided. As a commuter myself, I do put my safety in the hands of others on a daily basis and rightfully expect to be safe. The driver, along with TfL & First Group owed a duty to take such care of its passengers and to ensure they were safe. It is clear that this duty was breached, leaving a devastating result”.

"We had never heard about Sepsis. Perhaps if we had, we would have spotted the signs..." - Matthew's story

Sepsis is a life threatening condition.  It causes 44,000 death per year in Britain.

The UK Sepsis Trust is committed to raising awareness about the signs and symptoms of #Sepsis both with the public, and with medical professionals.  We are supporting The UK Sepsis Trust in the work that they do, and are honoured to have recently been asked to become a corporate partner of the charity.

Who knows how things might have been different for Matthew and his family, if they had been aware of the symptoms of #sepsis…

Failure to diagnose sepsis

In August last year, Matthew Parkes and his wife were in Majorca with their four year old daughter when Matthew fell ill.

Matthew, a 39 year old former competitive swimmer, developed a sore throat the day after arriving in Majorca. By the following day, Matthew had pain all over his body, and his wife took him to a local public hospital.

Matthew was already displaying some of the tell tale signs of sepsis including shortness of breath, chills and a fever. Although with hindsight Matthew should have been given antibiotics to fight the infection, he was sent away with diazepam. Matthew had in fact developed pneumonia, triggered by a streptococcus infection, and it started to invade his lungs.

Matthew’s pain got worse and he developed pain in his stomach, chest and back.  He recently told the Daily Mail about his experience, reporting a common feeling in sepsis survivors, he felt like he was dying. Matthew’s stomach became badly distended and his skin was purple and blotchy.  His breathing remained rapid and he had a high temperature.  These are all typical signs of sepsis.

Delay in sepsis diagnosis

Matthew’s wife was so worried she took him to a nearby private hospital, who immediately identified that Matthew was suffering with sepsis.

Matthew was transferred into intensive care in a hospital in Palma for emergency kidney dialysis.

Matthew was then placed into a medical induced coma, and was unconscious for seven weeks.  During that time he was transferred back to Manchester, and admitted to the Wythenshawe Hospital. When Matthew came round, his wife had to break the news to him that both legs would have to be amputated approximately seven inches below the knee.  Matthew also had to have a further operation to remove nearly all of the fingers and a third of the palm of his left hand.

Both Matthew and Pamela had never heard of sepsis before Matthew was taken ill.  Speaking to the Daily Mail recently they said “..if we’d known then what we know now, perhaps we’d have spotted the signs and asked doctors to check for it”.

Matthew has recently added his voice and his story to that of Melissa Mead, whose one year old son William tragically died from sepsis in 2014.

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