“Be sepsis savvy – spot the signs and save lives” is the key message the UK Sepsis Trust is conveying as part of its latest campaign.
The body has released a video, in conjunction with Ark Media, to raise awareness among the farming community following Hannah Brown’s sudden death.
Brown, a renowned young farmer, and stockperson with a “positive competitive streak in cattle showing”, died in hospital from sepsis in March 2021.
In the video, her fiancé, Ben Richardson, said: “Hannah was my financée and Millie’s amazing mum. Hannah was the most caring, hard-working person you would ever meet.”
“She thought that she had a bit of a cold and a sniffle and would not have even got to the hospital.”
“She did not think she was ill. But then, a family friend told us she was ill. She went into hospital; well, I took her.”
“When Hannah was in hospital, I googled sepsis, and that is when I realised how serious it actually was.”
“We said we have been told she has sepsis. It was all just so quick and sudden. Everything just turned upside down overnight.”
“Like, it did not just turn mine and Millie’s lives upside down; it turned everybody’s lives because everyone had to change to adapt to it. Be aware that it could happen to anyone, and if you catch it soon enough, you can stop it from happening.”
Her parents, Val, and Martin, described her as “a very strong-willed and proper Yorkshire lass who said it as it was”.
“She loved her stock and farming – that is what she lived for. Like all farming communities, farmers, and farmers’ daughters, you are very strong-willed, and you think you are invincible.”
Her father explained: “On Monday night, she was stable and then on Tuesday at 5:19 am, we got a phone call from Dorne saying we better come. You cut your finger, you just wrap it up and brave on, don’t you?”
Her mother added: “We heard of sepsis and knew what it did, that it could kill you, but you just do not think it will happen to you. If you get it and do not get it treated quick enough, then you die.”
Her father pleaded: “If you are not feeling well, please go to the doctor and have a check-up.”
Susanna Foot, a sepsis survivor, revealed that knowing about Hannah has made “everybody” in her village “really conscious” of sepsis.
She had her own experience with the potentially life-threatening condition which, according to the HSE, usually begins as a simple infection, which can start anywhere in or on the body.
“I had a knee operation, and everything was completely fine for about two weeks. Then, suddenly, I became very ill.”
“The big difference was that my partner could see that I was not like me anymore, so she advocated really strongly that I needed to go and get an appointment with the GP. I was diagnosed with sepsis.”
“If I had not known about Hannah, then I would not have known about sepsis,” she concluded.
Farming community more susceptible to sepsis
The UK Sepsis Trust stated that “recent experience suggests that the farming community is more susceptible to sepsis”.
This, it says, is due to the:
- Nature of their work;
- Their resilience and can-do attitude;
- Their often rural, isolated setting;
- A reluctance to have time off and/or seek medical attention when not feeling well.
A spokesperson said: “The fact is that farmers and labourers are at increased risk of becoming infected, so any cuts should be cleaned thoroughly, disinfected and covered before returning to work.”
“Sepsis can also be caused by injuries caused by trauma or illness. Sepsis can impact anyone; it does not discriminate.”
“If you or a loved one displays any of the symptoms displayed, it is important that you seek medical attention urgently,” the spokesperson added.
Their message to readers is this: Just ask: could it be sepsis?
Read more on sepsis in this news article.