England cricketer Jack Leach tells our nurse about his experience of sepsis
Today (Wednesday 13 September) is World Sepsis Day and Vanessa Redwood, our deteriorating patient and sepsis nurse, recently sat down for a chat with Somerset and England spin bowler Jack Leach, where she heard all about his experience of sepsis.
During November 2019, Jack was out in New Zealand representing England in a test match series. But one evening, Jack began to feel unwell in his hotel room after dinner, experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting.
“My first thought was that I might have been experiencing food poisoning as the symptoms were really similar,” he said. “However, my symptoms continued, and in fact worsened through the night, to the extent that by the following morning, I knew I was not well enough to play cricket.
“I stayed in my room trying to recover, but felt an aggressive progression of symptoms – I was very unwell.
“Although I was in phone contact with the team doctor, I honestly felt that I couldn’t fall asleep incase I didn’t wake up.
“Thankfully during the players’ lunch, our team doctor was able to check on me, though I had to crawl to the door to open it. On seeing me, the doctor immediately knew that I was extremely sick, and with help, got me to hospital.
“Once in hospital, sepsis was recognised, and I was promptly given intravenous antibiotics. Once this course had began, I slowly started to feel better.”
Although he’s a professional sportsman and has a high fitness level, Jack’s recovery took longer than he expected.
Six weeks after sepsis, he travelled to South Africa with the England team to train ahead of the next test series.
“It was while in South Africa that, together with our medical team, we recognised that my body had not fully recovered and I was not fit enough to take part,” Jack continued. “Accepting this and relinquishing my availability was so difficult for me, and I came home to fully recover.
“I also have Crohn’s Disease, a condition that causes swelling or inflammation to part of the digestive system, and the medication I take for this suppresses my immune system, leaving me vulnerable to infection.
“Having had sepsis, I want to share my experience to raise awareness of this condition so others can spot the signs early and get treatment.”
Vanessa thanked Jack for taking the time to chat about his experience. She said: “It really was a pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with Jack, and I have to admit that much to the amusement of my cricket-loving family, I’m actually beginning to quite like cricket!”
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection is to injure its own tissues and organs.
Every year, 48,000 people in the UK die of sepsis-related illnesses, a thousand of who are children. These are high numbers and can be prevented if recognised early.
The symptoms to look out for are explained by the UK Sepsis Trust About Sepsis | Sepsis Symptoms | The UK Sepsis Trust
There is one simple question you can ask if someone you know is unwell or that you are caring for just ask: ‘Could this be sepsis’?