By Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust and Global Sepsis Alliance
A decade ago, I met a man who would come not only to define my career, but to change my life. Jem would never know the extent of his influence, because when I met him, he was in an induced coma. Sepsis had taken a strong 37-year-old man and reduced him to a wreck of failing organs in a matter of hours.
I encounter sepsis daily as an Intensive Care doctor, and who knows why Jem was the one to make me resolve to fight this indiscriminate killer, which claims an estimated 37,000 in the UK every year.
But resolve I did, and ten years later we are saving lives. I'm privileged now to have met hundreds of adults and children affected by sepsis and their families. These aren't just statistics. These are people who are loved. They have stories like mine. Stories like yours. Stories like the one Amanda Prowse has written for her tenth novel, "Three-and-a-Half-Heartbeats".
It tells the heart-breaking story of a young couple, Grace and Tom Penderford, who had a strong marriage, a comfortable home, and a healthy baby girl. But soon after Chloe turns three, tragedy strikes and sepsis takes her life.
The Penderfords had never heard of sepsis - the condition which globally kills someone, somewhere every three-and-a-half seconds. In the UK, around 1,000 children die from the condition each year - a fifth of all child deaths.
Awareness is the number one cure for sepsis. Raising recognition of the disease and increasing the number of patients treated in the 'Golden Hour' is the single biggest attempt we can make to save lives.
With public education, better knowledge and awareness among doctors, nurses and paramedics, and by redesigning the way patients with sepsis are treated, I know we can save 12,500 lives per year in the UK and shave £170 million from the NHS budget.
All the proceeds from the novel are going to the UK Sepsis Trust, which I run along with the help of an army of volunteers from the medical profession and those who've been affected. If you would like to help, please buy Amanda Prowse's e-book, "Three-and-a-Half Heartbeats". It costs just £1.89 and a copy of the book, which launches on September 10, can be pre-ordered here.