Woman Dies From a Scratch – level 3

07-10-2016 15:00

Lucy Smith, a mother of two from England, was just 43 years old when she died from sepsis. She got it from an everyday action – she scratched the back of her hand when she was working in her garden. This is something that can happen to anyone at any time.

The injury was not brought to anybody’s attention at first, but not long after the cut, Lucy developed pain in her shoulder. She visited her GP, but a connection between the scratch and her pain was not made. The doctor diagnosed a trapped nerve, gave her pain killers, and sent her to see a physiotherapist. However, her symptoms worsened three days later, so she went to A & E.

The doctors there took her blood for tests. Within an hour, they knew that she was suffering from cellulitis – a blood condition which is easily treated with antibiotics, but unfortunately, if neglected, it morphs into sepsis and this is what happened. Two days later, the woman died.

There are more than 150,000 cases of sepsis in the UK each year, resulting in 44,000 deaths.

Lucy’s family now wants to raise awareness among GPs and the public. All this takes is a simple blood test. Lucy’s two children are now looked after by their dad and they can remember their mum at a garden named in her memory.

Difficult words: sepsis (when there are bacteria in your body, typically from a wound), GP (a general practitioner; a family doctor), trapped nerve (when a nerve is compressed and cannot work normally), A & E (accident and emergency), cellulitis (when there are bacteria right under your skin), neglect (fail to care for properly), morph (change).

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