A WEE COUNTY family is calling for doctors to be provided with a test which could potentially save thousands of lives.

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have developed an innovative, low cost test for earlier diagnosis of sepsis.

The simple system for sensitive real-time measurement of the life threatening condition is much quicker than some existing hospital tests, which can take up to 72 hours to process.

A biosensor device is used to detect if one of the protein biomarkers of sepsis is present in the bloodstream.

The results of the research show that increased levels of the molecule can be detected by the test as quickly as two and a half minutes.

One family who the test could have made a difference to was Ryan Sutherland's.

After he developed a persistent sore throat in 2015 he visited his GP, but was sent home without treatment after it was ruled he was simply suffering from a virus.

Just hours after a second visit that same week to an emergency doctor, the dad-of-two from Fishcross in Clackmannanshire, who has two young daughters Lacey, 8, and Isla, 4, collapsed at home.

His wife Melanie called an ambulance and on arrival at hospital suffered two cardiac arrests.

Ryan had sepsis, and as his body went into shock and his organs started to shut down, doctors warned his wife he may not survive the night.

After eight days in a coma, he woke up and went on to make an almost complete recovery.

But the couple believe that had their GP had access to the simple test developed by researchers, Ryan may have been diagnosed before his condition became life threatening.

Ryan said: “I started to feel unwell over the weekend with a sore throat. That Tuesday I went to the doctors when it got worse but they told me it was a viral infection and sent me away.

“As the week went on, it got worse and by the Thursday it was really bad. My wife took me to the out-of-hours doctor that night and by this point I was really unwell and could barely move.

“No one mentioned sepsis although looking back I had all the symptoms. It’s hard to diagnose, so if this test had been around it could have made all the difference to what happened with me.”

Hours later Ryan, 33, collapsed as he got off the sofa to go to the toilet - the last thing he remembers.

Melanie, 29, said: “I phoned an ambulance and when I told one of the paramedics that Ryan had had a sore throat, he mentioned sepsis for the first time. I didn’t even know what it was.”

Ryan’s life hung in the balance, but after eight days he woke up. He had lost three stones in weight and was so weak he had to walk with a zimmer frame at first.

Melanie said: “We know we’re lucky because other people who’ve had sepsis as bad as Ryan’s have died or have lost limbs.

“If this test had been available it could have made a huge difference to us.”