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Sepsis kits will ‘help save lives’ at King George Hospital

PUBLISHED: 13:00 09 September 2016

From left, Dr Sylvester Gomes, A&E paediatric consultant, consultant microbiologist Sandra Lacey,  Elita Mazzocchi, clinical lead midwife, and Aklak Choudhury, respiratory consultant, with the new sepsis detection kits at BHRUT hospitals.

From left, Dr Sylvester Gomes, A&E paediatric consultant, consultant microbiologist Sandra Lacey, Elita Mazzocchi, clinical lead midwife, and Aklak Choudhury, respiratory consultant, with the new sepsis detection kits at BHRUT hospitals.

Claire Still

Monday marked two years since the death of 13-month-old Zara Alam, who died of sepsis hours after being discharged from Goodmayes’ King George Hospital.

13-month-old Zara Alam died of sepsis hours after being sent home from King George Hospital. Picture: Nazia Alam13-month-old Zara Alam died of sepsis hours after being sent home from King George Hospital. Picture: Nazia Alam

The phrase “lessons will be learned” is often heard in such cases and the doctors and nurses of King George – and Romford’s Queen’s Hospital – have ensured they have done just that.

New equipment trollies and procedures have been put in place at the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and staff are confident improvements have been made.

A&E paediatric consultant Dr Sylvester Gomes stressed the importance of early care.

“You are almost saving an extra life by giving treatment within the first hour because it is a medical emergency,” he told the Recorder.

“About 80 per cent of children without checks will die, but with treatment only 20pc. We have learned much since Zara’s death.”

The trust has brought in dedicated trollies and kits, with compartments relevant to the “sepsis six” – treatments to be given to patients diagnosed with the illness, which the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence believes should be treated as urgently as a heart attack.

Dr Gomes said child patients go through a “sepsis screen” before they can be discharged, or treated if the illness is diagnosed.

Zara died of sepsis after contracting meningitis, with the inquest into her death – held in March – hearing she was categorised as an “amber risk” upon arrival at King George.

Zara was sent home after her high temperature was put down to a virus, but she took a turn for the worse and died within four hours of being discharged.

Her mother Nazia, of Clayhall, has praised BHRUT’s new measures.

“I’m happy something has now been put in place, that doctors are being vigilant about the illness.

“I hope this tool is carried across other hospitals. My Zara will never come back, but no other baby will be sent home without vital checks.”

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The ‘sepsis six’

The “sepsis six” consists of three diagnostic and three therapeutic steps – all to be delivered within one hour of sepsis being diagnosed:

1. Deliver high-flow oxygen.

2. Take blood cultures.

3. Administer empiric intravenous antibiotics.

4. Measure serum lactate and send full blood count.

5. Start intravenous fluid resuscitation.

6. Commence accurate urine output measurement.


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