Actor Jason Watkins Supports ‘Martha’s Rule’ Campaign for Parental Second Opinions in A&E
Advocating for Parental Instinct
Actor Jason Watkins, whose two-year-old daughter tragically died from sepsis, is endorsing a campaign that calls for parents to have the right to seek a second opinion regarding a diagnosis in Accident & Emergency (A&E). Watkins emphasizes the crucial role of a parent’s instinct in gauging their child’s illness, arguing that it should always be heeded.
Campaign Supported After Tragic Loss
The campaign, known as ‘Martha’s rule,’ gained prominence after the death of 13-year-old Martha Mills, who succumbed to sepsis due to treatment failures at King’s College Hospital. Health Secretary Steve Barclay has pledged to consider the campaign following this tragedy.
Personal Tragedy Drives Advocacy
For Watkins, this cause is deeply personal as he lost his toddler, Maude, to sepsis in 2011 after she was discharged from the hospital with what was initially diagnosed as a bad cold. Watkins underscores the preventable nature of sepsis, a condition that has left numerous parents devastated and bewildered. He estimates that there are approximately 12,000 preventable deaths related to sepsis.
A Day to Focus on Sepsis Awareness
Watkins is drawing attention to World Sepsis Day, emphasizing the need to reassess how people are diagnosed upon arriving in A&E in cases involving sepsis.
Advocacy and Awareness
Jason Watkins has teamed up with the UK Sepsis Trust to raise awareness about this life-threatening condition among both the public and medical professionals. His advocacy efforts stem from a profound loss and a desire to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.
Tragic Loss and Fond Memories
Describing Maude as a vibrant and confident child who loved to sing, Watkins reflects on the heartbreak of losing her. He also acknowledges the challenges faced by his younger daughter, Betty, who is growing up without her sister.
Turning to Positive Memories
Since creating the documentary “Jason & Clara: In Memory of Maude,” which aired earlier this year, and has been nominated for a Welsh Bafta, Watkins has shifted his focus towards cherishing the happy moments shared with his daughter.
Calls for Improved Medical Training and Diagnosis
Watkins emphasizes the importance of providing doctors in the UK with regular sepsis training to ensure they recognize the range of symptoms. He also advocates for improved clinical practices in diagnosing sepsis, suggesting that ruling out sepsis should be the default approach, especially for children arriving in A&E.
A Call for Early Recognition and Second Opinions
Dr. Ron Daniels, founder and joint chief executive of the UK Sepsis Trust, stresses the significance of early recognition of sepsis symptoms by health professionals. He also calls for public awareness, encouraging individuals to inquire about the possibility of sepsis when seeking medical help.
Martha’s Rule and the Need for Listening
Dr. Daniels references ‘Martha’s rule,’ which would provide families with a statutory right to seek a second opinion if they have concerns about their loved one’s care. He highlights the importance of health professionals taking parental and relatives’ concerns seriously, as this aspect was lacking in cases like Maud’s and Martha Mills’. Dr. Daniels underscores the need for standardized practices to eliminate regional disparities in handling sepsis.
Sepsis Awareness and Its Impact
The UK Sepsis Trust is releasing tools to raise awareness of sepsis. The condition can initially mimic flu, gastroenteritis, or a chest infection in adults, with symptoms including fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, and quick breathing. In children, signs of sepsis may include rapid breathing, seizures, a non-fading rash, lack of feeding, repeated vomiting, or no wet nappies for 12 hours.
Sepsis Statistics and Urgent Need for Awareness
Sepsis is a severe issue in the UK, affecting 245,000 people and claiming 48,000 lives annually. Raising awareness and improving early recognition and diagnosis are vital in the fight against this life-threatening condition.