“I flat-lined seven times, it was very uncertain for a long time whether I would make it,” says Patrick Kane.

He nearly died from a condition that kills more people in the UK each year than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Patrick was just nine months old when one morning he became poorly, floppy and “generally unresponsive”.

The family GP said he just needed Calpol, but Patrick’s mother was still concerned and took him to hospital.

But on the journey things got rapidly worse.


“It really was a sudden thing… upon arrival I had multiple organ failure,” he says.

Patrick spent three and a half months in St Mary’s hospital in London, lost his right leg below the knee, his left arm and fingers on his right hand.

The 19-year-old is now studying biochemistry at university in Edinburgh.

What he had was sepsis.

“Either you know someone who’s had sepsis, or you’ve never heard of it,” Patrick tells the Media.

What are the symptoms?

The UK Sepsis Trust lists six symptoms to be aware of:

  • slurred speech
  • extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • passing no urine in a day
  • severe breathlessness
  • “I feel like I might die”
  • skin mottled or discoloured

Symptoms in young children include:

  • looks mottled, bluish or pale
  • very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • abnormally cold to touch
  • breathing very fast
  • a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • a seizure or convulsion