She had all the signs: Father of Maddy Jones raising awareness about sepsis

FOREVER LOVED: Maddy Jones. Photo: Supplied

FOREVER LOVED: Maddy Jones. Photo: Supplied

THE father of an 18-year-old woman who died after falling ill with a respiratory infection has visited Redland Hospital to tell staff about the importance of identifying sepsis early.

He is also calling for people to get vaccinated against the flu to help prevent flu-related sepsis.

Damian Jones said his daughter Maddy died in October, 2017 after becoming unwell.

He said Maddy was at first diagnosed with a respiratory infection and told to take over-the-counter cold and flu remedies.

Worsening symptoms that included shortness of breath forced her to hospital where she was given fluids, told she had the flu and discharged, Mr Jones said.

Maddy's condition appeared to be okay over the next two nights.

However, she soon began complaining of feeling very sick, he said.

Mr Jones said he helped to keep a close vigil at his daughter's side, rubbing her back and helping her to drink, eat soup and take medications.

Maddy Jones is remembered as beautiful, independent, funny and a high achiever. Photo: Supplied

Maddy Jones is remembered as beautiful, independent, funny and a high achiever. Photo: Supplied

"We were awake with her all through the night," Mr Jones said.

"Maddy had the signs of sepsis - pale skin, shortness of breath, muscular pain, fever and vomiting.

"She knew she was very sick but we told her that she had the flu.

"We had not heard of sepsis before. We did not know the signs of sepsis and we did not ask 'Could this be Sepsis?'

"What I would give now to have known those words."

Sepsis occurs when chemicals released to fight infection triggers inflammation throughout the body.

The condition leads to cascading changes that cause damage to organs, organ failure and death.

Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, fast heart rate and mental confusion.

Mottled skin, muscle pain and not passing urine are also signs.

"Maddy had sore muscles, shortness of breath, temperatures and she was very pale and confused," Mr Jones said. "She was not her normal self."

Mr Jones said Maddy was admitted to hospital the next day and put into an induced coma in the intensive care unit.

"Things became surreal and so began our agonising wait to know whether she would pull through or not," Mr Jones said.

"We experienced small glimmers of hope and then devastating news."

The 18-year-old was placed onto life support but later passed away on October 12, 2017, less than ten days after she was admitted to the ICU.

Mr Jones said his daughter was remembered as beautiful, independent, funny, a higher achiever, excellent at tennis and good with kids.

She was an Honours law student who had completed high school at Kelvin Grove State College and attended the Queensland Tennis School of Excellence before enrolling into university.

Mr Jones has since set up the Maddy Jones Foundation to raise awareness about sepsis and its prevention.

"Through Maddy's story, her legacy, she will continue to be an achiever by saving the lives of others," he said.

SEPSIS PREVENTION: Damian Jones (second from left) with Redland Hospital emergency department clinical nurse Jessica Hulme, Dr David Van Der Walt and Director of emergency Dr John Sutherland. Photo: Supplied

SEPSIS PREVENTION: Damian Jones (second from left) with Redland Hospital emergency department clinical nurse Jessica Hulme, Dr David Van Der Walt and Director of emergency Dr John Sutherland. Photo: Supplied

Mr Jones is visiting Queensland hospitals to talk to staff about the condition and the importance of early identification.

"... When parents come to an emergency department with their child, they are concerned and what parents tell you about their child is incredibly important," he said.

"It could be as simple as asking 'Could this be sepsis?'

"Someone in the world dies every four seconds from sepsis and more people in Australia than the national road toll or from breast cancer, yet most people haven't heard of it and lives and families are shattered."

Mr Jones said sepsis symptoms could sometimes be confused with other ailments like the flu, with early detection important for helping patients' survival.

Sepsis could be triggered by any infection but could also be prevented with early treatment of infections and proper vaccination.

To find out more about the Maddy Jones Foundation, visit maddyjonesfoundation.com.au.