Support for sepsis survivors ‘diabolical’ says man who nearly died from the condition

A man who nearly died from sepsis says support for sepsis survivors has been ‘diabolical’.

Sepsis kills more people than breast, bowel and prostate cancer together. It’s a killer infection and is continually on the rise, but it is avoidable.

John James, from Abergavenny, contracted sepsis six years ago after getting E-coli following a prostate biopsy. He ended up in intensive care and says his recovery took years because of the lack of support.

I’d lost so much mobility, my speech, my memory. I realised it was going to be a difficult journey, home for a few weeks, a bit of looking after from my wife, and I’d be on the road to recovery, but it took me several years.

It was a long arduous journey. The support I had was diabolical. There was no clinic to address all the issues. I thank the NHS for saving my life. … however when you go through the exit doors home for your recovery the support is absolutely zero and that has to change.


John, who is a former police officer, needed rehab, physiotherapy, and counselling to help him recover. He says more awareness of the condition and better post-sepsis treatment and recovery is needed urgently.

John’s wife Joy said she didn’t know anything about Sepsis.

10,500instances of Sepsis in Wales .2,500deaths from Sepsis in Wales.

Terence Canning, from the UK Sepsis Trust, says a standardised way of collecting and reporting data is an essential first step:

Data around instances of sepsis, there’s a massive gap there. How can we help sepsis survivors if we don’t know where they are? We don’t have great data. It’s poor across the board, we don’t have the data to tell the scale.


Now a cross-party group of Assembly Members are carrying out an inquiry to try and find better ways of spotting and preventing Sepsis.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis develops when your body overreacts to infection from something as small as a cut to invasive procedure like surgery.

It may initially manifest itself as something like a chest infection or a gastric infection or flu-like symptoms. However, if left untreated, your body starts to attack itself, and extreme cases could lead to multi-organ failure and death.

The latest guidelines by the Sepsis Trust say it should be treated with the same emergency reaction as heart attacks or strokes and treatment with antibiotics administered in an initial ‘golden hour’.

The Welsh Government said it is working with Public Health Wales to improve early detection and diagnosis.

We are supporting the development of the sepsis registry – led by Public Health Wales in collaboration with all health boards – which focuses on long-term outcomes for people who have had sepsis. The first phase of this work will be completed this summer.


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