Kettering man who lost both his legs and six fingertips to sepsis launches new support group

From left, Kettering General Hospital sepsis nurse practitioner Tanya Birke, David Carson, David's wife Margaret Carson and sepsis nurse practitioner Amy Wride outside Kettering General Hospital.
From left, Kettering General Hospital sepsis nurse practitioner Tanya Birke, David Carson, David's wife Margaret Carson and sepsis nurse practitioner Amy Wride outside Kettering General Hospital.

A sepsis survivor who lost both of his legs to sepsis is teaming up with Kettering General Hospital to form a new support group for the life-threatening serious infection.

David Carson, whose "whole world changed" as a result of the sepsis, has joined forces with the hospital and the national UK Sepsis Trust charity to form the first sepsis support group for north Northamptonshire.

David Carson during his time at Kettering General Hospital's intensive care unit in 2013.

David Carson during his time at Kettering General Hospital's intensive care unit in 2013.

The Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough & District Sepsis Support Group is being launched this Monday from 6.30pm-8pm in the Community Room at the Tesco store at Victoria Park in Turnells Mill Lane, Wellingborough.

Mr Carson became ill with flu-like symptoms in April 2013. He was rushed to hospital with suspected sepsis after his wife Margeret noticed he had developed symptoms of vomiting, slurred speech and confusion at his Kettering home.

The father-of-two spent more than a month at Kettering General Hospital's intensive care unit and suffered septic shock and multi-organ failure, which resulted in the loss of both legs, six fingertips and his sense of touch..

The 67-year-old, who is a volunteer with the UK Sepsis Trust, has been working with the hospital’s sepsis nurse practitioners Amy Wride and Tanya Birke, as well as the sepsis trust to establish the new group.

He explained: “Margaret and I have been involved with supporting the UK Sepsis Trust through fundraising and speaking to medical professionals at conferences about the importance of recognising the symptoms of sepsis.

“But as my own journey has progressed, Margaret and I realised that we wanted to do something to help the survivors of sepsis – and those relatives or friends of patients who have also been affected.

“So we approached the trust and Kettering General Hospital to form a sepsis support group for north Northamptonshire.”

Sepsis nurse practitioner Amy said: “We have been working hard at the hospital to improve sepsis awareness for several years now, but we were very aware that once a person leaves hospital after having had sepsis there was no dedicated support group in Northamptonshire.

“So when David and Margaret came to us to suggest setting one up we were very happy and enthusiastic to support them.”

Sepsis kills more people each year than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined. It is also more common than a heart attack, with more than 250,000 cases per year in the UK.

In February last year David became suddenly unwell again and his wife dialled the 111 NHS medical helpline to ask if it could it be a return of sepsis. He was admitted to the Kettering hospital again, spending a further four days in intensive care where his sepsis was successfully treated with antibiotics.

Mr Carson added: “One of the reasons we wanted to start the support group was to help people who are recovering from sepsis and to help theirs families and friends.

“The support group will be an opportunity for people who have been affected by sepsis to talk about what happened to them, to share their concerns and experiences, and help each other in their recovery.

“I had the benefit of a psychologist who listened to me and helped me to cope with the way my whole world changed as a result of the sepsis.

“I think talking about it really helped me and I hope that talking things through in the support group will help others to come to terms with what has happened to them and help them to get on with their lives.”

The support group will run once every three months in Wellingborough. Initially it will be led by Larry Matthews, the lead sepsis nurse from the UK Sepsis Trust, with David and Margaret as the lead volunteers, supported by Kettering hospital's sepsis nurse specialists.

Mr Matthews said: “Recovery from sepsis can vary greatly. It’s estimated that up to 25 per cent of people will experience significant problems after sepsis and, for some, these will be life-changing, affecting their ability to return to work and education, and impacting on family life and personal relationships.

“The UK Sepsis Trust helps to facilitate a number of sepsis support groups around the UK. These are informal meetings, run on the principle of peer support with the presence of healthcare professionals to offer input and advice.

“Support groups give people the opportunity to share their experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

“David and Margaret have done tremendous work in raising awareness of sepsis in their work volunteering for the trust, but they are also passionate about supporting others who are recovering from sepsis and sharing their experiences.

“We are delighted to be working with them alongside Kettring General Hospital's sepsis lead Amy Wride to establish a support group in Kettering.

“One of the trust's four main aims is to support those affected by sepsis and each group that opens helps us to achieve this aim.”

For more information about the group, phone 0808 800 0029 or email support@sepsistrust.org