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Family And Friends Prepare For Sheffield Half Marathon In Memory Of Aspiring Paramedic Who Died Of Sepsis

Team Jess Want To Reduce Number Of People Affected By Condition


Andrew Hewitt, Press Officer | 0114 274 4255

Family and friends of a trainee paramedic who died of sepsis are putting their best foot forward to take part in a charity run in her memory.

Jessica Holbrook died following “gross failings” in her care by an out of hours GP service where she attended appointments in the days before her death.

The 23-year-old’s family and friends have now signed up to take part in this year’s Sheffield Half Marathon, on 14 April, in aid of UK Sepsis Trust.

The group, which includes Jessica’s dad and step-mum Leigh Holbrook and Liz Middleton, has already received a £100 funding boost from law firm Irwin Mitchell which has supported the family following the death of Jessica, of Barnsley.

Expert Opinion
“Through our work supporting families and with UK Sepsis Trust we sadly see the devastation that the condition can have.

“Leigh, Liz and the rest of Jessica’s family has shown great courage, dignity and determination in trying to come to terms with her death. While nothing can make up what has happened they are determined to raise awareness of the signs of sepsis and how important early detection is in saving lives.

“At Irwin Mitchell, we believe in building strong links within the communities in which we work and supporting good causes so when Jessica’s family told us about taking part in the Sheffield Half Marathon we were delighted to support them.

“We wish them all the best for the half marathon and hope they raise as much money as possible for such a worthwhile charity.”
Sinead Rollinson-Hayes, Solicitor

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by sepsis

Jessica, of Brierley, was an avid Barnsley FC fan and season ticket holder. She worked for Yorkshire Ambulance Service organising routine ambulance appointments and had sat her exams to become a paramedic.

After complaining of a cold, sore throat and tickly cough, she visited an out of hours surgery in Barnsley run by i-Heart on 9 December, 2017, where she was diagnosed with a viral infection. 

Jessica, who was born without a pituitary gland – which helps the body fight infection – attended another out of hours appointment four days later displaying ‘red flags’ of sepsis, an i-Heart investigation following her death found. 

She was prescribed penicillin for tonsillitis. Her condition deteriorated. The next day her family called for an ambulance but she died before arriving at Barnsley Hospital.

Earlier this year coroner David Urpeth concluded there was “gross failings” in Jessica’s care. He ruled that “Jessica’s death was contributed to by neglect.”

Leigh and Liz, 49 and 41, will be joined in Team Jess by Jessica’s brother and aunty, Liam and Louise, 24 and 46, as well as Liz’s cousin, Phillip Fell, 48.

Jessica’s friends Nicola Shaw, Su Bramley-Bell and Harpal Sahota complete the team.

Leigh said: “We experienced sepsis first hand when we lost Jess, who was such a happy, loving and vibrant person.

“Her death has left a huge hole in all of our lives but we are determined to make sure her death is not totally in vain.

“We want to raise awareness of this serious illness and raise essential funds for UK Sepsis Trust to improve the way sepsis is handled in the UK. 

“We want to stop other families going through what ours has.  Jess was always helping others and we want to do this for her in her memory.”

Liz added: “None of us are really runners and there have been a few ups and downs such as illness. However, we are quite pleased with how training is going.

“We just thought doing something that would be a challenge would be good way to raise money for a charity that is now close to all our hearts.”

Team Holbrook has set up a fundraising page. For more information or to donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/remember/663710/Jessica-Holbrook

Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Sepsis leads to shock, multiple organ failure and, potentially, death especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.

Signs include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.