Victoria Nice: Baldock mum’s powerful story brings sepsis to forefront for ambulance board

PUBLISHED: 10:32 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:32 10 October 2017

Victoria Nice died of sepsis just weeks after completing the 5km stretch around the Olympic Park for Shine. Picture: Katrina Nice

Victoria Nice died of sepsis just weeks after completing the 5km stretch around the Olympic Park for Shine. Picture: Katrina Nice

Archant

A Baldock mum has bravely spoken out about the importance of sepsis awareness after losing her teenage daughter to the illness last year.

Victoria Nice and her mum Katrina at the Olympic Park in London. Picture: Katrina Nice Victoria Nice and her mum Katrina at the Olympic Park in London. Picture: Katrina Nice

Katrina Nice shared the story of her daughter Victoria’s death at a board meeting with ambulance bosses, resulting in them bringing sepsis to the front of their focus.

Victoria – who had spina bifida and hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain – died of sepsis in September 2016, aged just 19.

Since her death, Katrina has been working with the East of England Ambulance NHS Trust to help improve its work around sepsis, which can often be misdiagnosed.

Katrina told the Comet: “I’m really impressed with how much they have taken on board.

“We want to see the hospital do something that will make a difference in the future, and I’m really grateful for their willingness to improve.

“It’s happened and we have got to move on – as long as something good can come out of it.”

Sepsis happens when the body’s response to an infection damages the tissues and organs – which can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if the signs are not recognised and treated quickly.

Victoria’s death triggered an investigation and as a result sepsis was brought to the forefront of the ambulance trust’s focus, and individual learning took place with frontline crews.

The front page of the Comet's Letchworth & Baldock edition of September 8, 2016, featuring wheelchair-bound fundraiser Victoria Nice during her handcrank challenge at Parallel London. The front page of the Comet's Letchworth & Baldock edition of September 8, 2016, featuring wheelchair-bound fundraiser Victoria Nice during her handcrank challenge at Parallel London.

Deputy medical director Dr Tom Davis said: “As a trust we have a clinical focus on sepsis and we’re about to launch a sepsis strategy with something called the National Early Warning Score – NEWS – which helps clinicians diagnose and assist in early recognition of sepsis.

“As well as this, the trust has issued its first ever specific patient feedback for sepsis patients, the results of which will help shape our response to sepsis in the future.

“Our clinicians have the tools to identify sepsis and are doing all they can.

“Momentum is building, and we are working hard to improve our use of those tools on the frontline because we’re passionate about doing the best we can by our patients.”

Clinical quality head Tracy Nicholls added: “I’d like to firstly thank Katrina for her incredible bravery by being so open about this tragic incident and working with us to learn from this.

“We felt it absolutely right to offer Katrina a forum to speak to our staff, and help the organisation learn more about sepsis.

“Sepsis is known as the silent killer because it can be easily missed when diagnosing a patient.

“The entire trust, from frontline staff to the board of directors, want to work together to be a leader in pre-hospital sepsis recognition and treatment.

“Sepsis claims the lives of more than 44,000 people a year in the UK, more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. It is important to continue to learn from our patients, and it is humbling to hear Katrina’s story.”

To find out more about sepsis, have a look at eastamb.nhs.uk/your-service/campaigns/sepsis or find @UKSepsisTrust on Twitter.

The Nice family is fundraising for The Wheelyboat Trust, which operates boats for wheelchair users, in Victoria’s memory. To donate, see justgiving.com/fundraising/victoria-n-memory.

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