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Mum helps raise funds for local hospital and awareness of Sepsis symptoms

Press release – 10 January 2019

Mum helps raise funds for local hospital and awareness of Sepsis symptoms

A mum has helped to raise £1,200 for Hereford County Hospital’s intensive care unit, as a thank you to staff, and is also raising awareness of the symptoms of Sepsis after her son nearly died from the condition. 

This time last year Fiona Hawkins, mother of 39 year old John Williams, was told her son was critically ill and may not survive an infection, which led to Sepsis causing some of his vital organs to shut down. 

Fiona said: “I was in shock because my son, John, was so fit and well before he became ill and we never thought about it being Sepsis.  John had been feeling unwell for a while and I went over to see him and he looked dreadful.  I insisted he attended the GP surgery that day, where he was taken immediately by ambulance to A&E at Hereford County Hospital for assessment and life-saving treatment.  I had to prepare for the worst and it hit home that I could lose my son.  He spent three and half weeks in the intensive care unit (ITU) receiving multi-organ support and then several months at home recovering from Sepsis and pneumonia”.

Following John’s illness, Fiona has been helping to raise awareness of the symptoms of Sepsis with family, friends, and through the Iyengar Yoga groups that she runs, as well as raising money to thank the hospital staff for the care he received.

Fiona added: “We are very grateful to everyone who cared for John and saved his life, and to my students who kindly helped us raise £1,200 through a Iyengar Yoga workshop, which has been donated to ITU at Hereford County Hospital. 

“John didn’t have all of the Sepsis symptoms, so I would advise anyone that if you or someone you know appears to have Sepsis symptoms go to your GP straightaway or to hospital, even if you are unsure or are feeling very unwell for more than a few days.  If John’s story can help save one life it will have helped make a difference”.

Lynn Carpenter, ITU Sister at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “We would like to thank Fiona and her yoga students for kindly donating this money to ITU to purchase additional equipment for our critically ill patients.  We are very grateful to receive donations towards enhancing the care and facilities we provide for our patients in Herefordshire”.

Dr Bartlett, acute medical consultant and trust lead for Sepsis at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “As soon as Sepsis is recognised it is a race against the clock to deliver treatment as quickly as possible and it is vital that we spot the signs and symptoms early.  Sepsis can be triggered by an infection in any part of the body.  Early symptoms of Sepsis usually develop quickly and can include the following, and you should call NHS 111 if you suspect it could be Sepsis.

  • high temperature
  • extreme tiredness
  • violent shivering and chills
  • faintness
  • pale and clammy skin
  • rapid and shallow breathing
  • a change in mental state (such as confusion or disorientation)
  • reduced urine production

“For children under five, Sepsis symptoms can include the following and you should go straight to Accident and Emergency or call 999 if your child has any of these”.

  • Looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch
  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Has a fit or convulsion

Wye Valley NHS Trust is supporting the national campaign to raise awareness of Sepsis signs, symptoms and treatment, across it hospitals and community healthcare services to help improve patient outcomes.  Visit NHS website www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis to find out more about Sepsis.


Left to right - Fiona Hawkins and Dr James Bartlett

 Img 0050 Cropped





Notes to Editors WVT:

  • Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider of health services across Herefordshire and beyond. The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve.
  • By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.
  • With an estimated annual turnover of around £180 million, we employ around 3,000 staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.

For further information please contact:

Fiona Gurney, communications officer, 01432 355444 ext 5105 or John Burnett, Communication and Engagement Manager, Wye Valley NHS Trust: 01432 372928

Contact Details

John Burnett
Communication and engagement manager
Tel: 01432 372928
Email: John.Burnett@wvt.nhs.uk

Amanda Millichip
Communications officer
Tel: 01432 355444 Ext: 5105
Email: Amanda.Millichip@wvt.nhs.uk

Fiona Gurney
Communications officer
Tel: 01432 355444 Ext: 5105
Email:  Fiona.gurney@wvt.nhs.uk


Postal address:

Wye Valley NHS Trust
The County Hospital
Trust Headquarters
Union Walk

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