For more than a year now, BBC Scotland has been lingering on single hospital deaths, presenting distraught mothers and showing heart-tugging images of the dead baby or child. In each case, the mother’s certainty that a hospital acquired infection triggered sepsis and death, is headlined, sometimes carefully in quotation marks.

It’s classic tabloid journalism with stories selected to morbidly titillate and to sell rather than to inform as, of course, a public service should. Nowhere, in this or in previous reports do we hear what the public needs to hear – How common is sepsis? Is the trend up or down and by how much? Is the rate in Scotland higher or lower than elsewhere?

It’s down 21% since 2012. See this:

There were 4 466 sepsis deaths in Scotland from 2014 to 2017 giving an average rate of around 1 500: https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/sepsis-death-toll-climbs-in-scotland-to-over-4000-in-last-three-years/

In England, there were 37 000 sepsis deaths in 2014: https://www.england.nhs.uk/rightcare/2018/06/19/taking-on-a-silent-killer-a-system-approach/

So, the rate in England is 25 times that of Scotland but the population is only 10 times higher. Thus, the rate per capita is 2.5 times higher.