Family of Paddy Dear welcome new guidelines on sepsis

16-year-old Paddy Dear from Hornchurch

16-year-old Paddy Dear from Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

The family of a Hornchurch teenager, who contracted sepsis before his death, say they welcome new NHS guidelines urging more awareness of the blood infection.

Suspected sepsis should be treated just as urgently as a heart attack, says the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

Doctor and nurses should treat people who show signs of sepsis with the same urgency they would treat a patient suffering from chest pain.

Danny Coyle, whose godson Paddy Dear contracted the infection shortly before his death, said the new guidelines were very important.

In March, the 16-year-old was found dead at the bottom of cliffs, on a school trip to Wales.

Danny said: “Having read the guidelines, I think it’s encouraging that somebody like Nice is taking steps to compare the condition’s seriousness to heart attacks.

“I think the language that they have used to explain that sepsis needs to be considered early on is very important.

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“It is so difficult to diagnose and it can often be missed.

“That is not the fault of GPs or health professionals at all, but for them to be considering it from the beginning is a massive step forward.”

If caught early, sepsis can be treated at home with antibiotics and people typically make a full recovery. But the UK Sepsis Trust estimates 44,000 people die of the infection in every year.

It may be caused by viral or

fungal infections, although bacterial infections are the most common cause.

These can be urinary tract infections, lung infections, such as pneumonia and kidney infections.

If left untreated, sepsis causes the body’s immune system to go into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection, reducing the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain.

Under the new guidelines, doctors and nurses must always ask “could this be sepsis?” as early as possible, in order to ensure patients can start treatment as early as possible.

Any patient who might have sepsis should be sent to hospital in an ambulance, where they should be seen by a senior doctor immediately.

The new guidance also includes a checklist of signs and symptoms and details on what to do next.

Initial symptoms can be vague, including a high or low temperature, chills and shivering, a fast heart beat or fast breathing.

If you’ve recently had an infection or injury and you have any of these symptoms, call your GP or 111.

However, if more serious symptoms present, including nausea, feeling faint and dizziness, you should call 999.

For more information on the infection, visit