New rapid sepsis test ‘could have made all the difference’ to family

A father-of-two who nearly died after developing sepsis believes his condition could have been caught sooner using a rapid test, which experts hope will soon be available on the NHS.

Ryan Sutherland, from Clackmannanshire in Scotland, suffered two cardiac arrests and spent more than a week in a coma, days after being told his persistent sore throat was the result of a viral infection.

The 33-year-old said the new sepsis test, which can give a result in just three minutes, could have made “all the difference” for his family.

Mr Sutherland with his daughters, after coming out of a coma (Family handout/ PA)
Mr Sutherland with his daughters, after coming out of a coma (Family handout/ PA)

Mr Sutherland, who has two young daughters, visited his GP in November 2015 after developing a sore throat but was told he had a virus and sent home with no treatment.

“As the week went on, it got worse and by the Thursday it was really bad,” Mr Sutherland said.

“My wife took me to the out-of-hours doctor that night and by this point I was really unwell and could barely move.

“But I was given an anti-sickness injection and then I was sent home.”

He later collapsed and was rushed to hospital.

When wife Melanie, 29, arrived just 20 minutes later, Mr Sutherland had suffered two cardiac arrests and was in intensive care.

She was told her husband had gone into septic shock and was critically ill.

“His body was starting to shut down. It was terrifying. They told me he may not last the night,” she said.

Mr Sutherland spent eight days in a coma before waking up.

He had lost three stone in weight and was so weak he initially struggled to walk.

The couple said a new rapid sepsis test, developed by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, could have saved them from the ordeal.

Researchers at Strathclyde have developed technology for a rapid test for sepsis which could save thousands of lives #sepsis#research@UKSepsisTrust

— Uni of Strathclyde (@UniStrathclyde) February 19, 2019

“We know we’re lucky because other people who’ve had sepsis as bad as Ryan’s have died or have lost limbs,” Mrs Sutherland said.

“If this test had been available it could have made a huge difference to us.”

At the moment it can take up to 72 hours to diagnose the condition.

Mr Sutherland said: “No one mentioned sepsis although, looking back, I had all the symptoms.

“It’s hard to diagnose, so if this test had been around it could have made all the difference to what happened with me.”