One year old, William Mead died in September 2014 after the 111 non-emergency helpline missed four opportunities to diagnose pneumonia and sepsis that could have saved his life.
William’s mother, Melissa Mead, recalls that despite being repeatedly reassured that William’s condition was non-urgent and that the best place for his was in bed, William died 12 hours after her dialling 111.
A NHS report into the incident found that the “sepsis pathway” used by the call handlers was not sufficient and did not identify “sepsis red flags” adequately; Despite sepsis being one of the most common reasons for death amongst young children.
Lindsey Scott, the director of nursing with NHS England and one of the authors of the reports, stated that the report identified a number of occasions, where if a different action had been taken, the course of William’s illness and ultimately the outcome would be different.
In addition, the report identified that there were several missed opportunities by William’s GPs to diagnose pneumonia earlier.
The NHS England report identified that in the course of William’s care, 16 mistakes had been made, which ultimately contributed to the delay in diagnosis of sepsis and pneumonia and his death.
In light of the critical report by the NHS, Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, concluded that more needs to be done to educate health professionals and the public as well as assessing the health systems that are in place.
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