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Sepsis survivor reunited with ambulance crew

01 March 2018

Jason, Phil and CalumA Worthing man, who survived meningococcal septicaemia, and undertook an amazing journey of recovery to return to work almost a year later, has been reunited with the ambulance crew who helped save his life.

Jason Beeching, an IT software developer now aged 46, developed a heavy cold, sickness and diarrhoea in the week of 2 November 2015 and went home from work early on 5 November. After taking the Friday off sick, Jason remembers waking up early on Saturday 7 November on his bathroom floor.

Knowing by now something was seriously wrong, he called 999. Paramedic, Calum Burnett was first to arrive at Jason’s flat, where he was backed up by ambulance crew Phil Swarbrick and Ray Pate. The team were quick to spot the signs of sepsis and made use of SECAmb’s ‘code yellow’ sepsis diagnosis tool.

Jason was rushed to Worthing Hospital where he was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia. His parents and then girlfriend were told he might not survive the weekend.

However, Jason defied the odds and spent the next five weeks receiving expert treatment in ICU before being transferred to Royal Sussex County Hospital ICU in Brighton for an operation to remove his damaged tissue. Just prior to Christmas he left ICU but underwent an operation to amputate his right leg below the knee on 30 December.

January 2016 saw Jason transferred to rehab at Salvington Lodge in Worthing after 74 days in hospital. By February he was starting to walk with a prosthetic leg and by the middle of March he was able to return home. However with his left foot still severely affected by gangrene he had to undergo a further operation to remove his fore-foot and tip of his finger – meaning another 16 days in hospital.

Undeterred, Jason learnt to drive an adapted car in October and was able to return to work by November. Further operations followed in 2017 but Jason has continued to make good progress following his initial poor prognosis.

He was pleased to meet and discuss his recovery with SECAmb staff Calum and Phil at Worthing Ambulance Station on Friday 23 February.

Jason said: “I really wanted to reunite with the ambulance crew as they did such an amazing job. Callum, Phil, Ray and of course all their colleagues in A&E and ICU are my heroes and I want them to know that. I was so pleased they remembered me two years on.

“I have also been thanking nursing staff by doing a few lectures to them about my journey and sepsis, as I hear very few survivors tell their story.

“At the time I didn’t know how dangerous my condition was, but now I look on it as a second chance at life. My recovery has been slow due to a few complications and more surgery, but my amazing friends and colleagues at work have supported me and taken my mind off things.”

Calum said: “It was very obvious to us that Jason was extremely unwell when we attended him. While it’s more than two years ago, it’s still very clear in my mind. The skin on Jason’s chest and abdomen was severely mottled with what could be described as a purple and white chequered pattern, one of the tell-tale signs of potential sepsis.

“We knew we had to act quickly and get him to hospital. We called ahead to let them know we were coming in with him and so they would be ready. I’m afraid to say I didn’t think he would survive. On behalf of myself and my colleagues it’s been a real pleasure to meet him again and to see him looking so well. We all wish him a continued good recovery and all the very best for the future.”

More information on sepsis is available at https://sepsistrust.org/

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