Isle of Wight ambulance officer Tholli Wood. Picture by Peter Boam.
A PIONEERING treatment, thought to be the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere, has been carried out by Isle of Wight medical staff.
The PrePip project to treat suspected cases of sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by severe infection, is being developed within the Isle of Wight NHS Trust.
It involves potentially life-saving intravenous antibiotics being administered at home by specially trained paramedics, rather than when the patient arrives at hospital.
The three-month project, which coincides with a campaign to highlight the condition, is led by senior house officer Dr John Pike and Tholli Wood, a clinical support officer for the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service. It is overseen by Dr Maria Lynch, consultant in emergency medicine.
Tholli said: "Sepsis kills 37,000 people every year. It’s a bigger killer than bowel and breast cancer combined and can be very difficult to spot.
"Other trusts have looked into recognising sepsis but we have gone a step further and are delivering the drug to the patient at home."
Dr Pike added: "For every hour delay in diagnosis and treatment, the risk of death from sepsis increases by eight per cent."
PrePip runs until December 20, and is targeting two sets of high-risk patients — those being treated for cancer and those with long-term catheters.
It is hoped the project will be successful as the Island has the only integrated NHS trust in the country, meaning all services, including the emergency department, 111 service, ambulance and chemotherapy units can work together to identify and treat suspected sepsis. Executive medical director at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Dr Mark Pugh, said: "It has taken just four months to develop and for the first patient to benefit.
"This is an exciting and innovative development, which will lead to patients starting potentially life-saving treatment faster, speeding their recovery and reducing a need for intensive care treatment."