A KELTY family is dealing with the double tragedy of losing twin sisters to sepsis less than a year apart.

Emily Ireland died aged just 59 on January 7 last year and 11 months later her twin sister, Jeanie Cook, also lost her life to the disease.

Sepsis is caused when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It must be treated immediately if there is any chance of survival.

Emily’s daughter, Donna McFarlane, said: “It is crazy that the two of them died in the same way.

“My auntie Jeanie fell down the stairs and needed a replacement shoulder.

“It was a big operation but she was recovering well.

“She was prescribed morphine which unfortunately causes constipation and her bowels filled up.

“She was taken to Dunfermline to hospital in need of a catheter but the doctor phoned immediately for an ambulance to take her to Kirkcaldy.

“As soon as we heard the word sepsis, my auntie knew she wasn’t going to make it because she’d seen what it had done to her sister.”

NHS staff waited to see if Jeanie would pull through but her condition deteriorated and the family were told things weren’t looking good.

Five minutes later, loved ones were told to prepare for the worst and doctors told the family to say their goodbyes.

Donna added: “It was very strange and a complete shock.

“It’s still all very raw and losing my auntie Jeanie brought it all back again.

“Many people think they’ll never get sepsis but it seems to me there’s a lot of people affected by it.

“It’s hard to spot the signs and you don’t have to have major surgery to pick it up, you could have just had treatment at the dentist.”

Emily first contracted sepsis while in hospital in 2013 but recovered slowly.

However, last year she became unwell again.

Speaking about her mum’s death last year, Donna told the Press: “We cannot help but think about how mum was seen by doctors and nurses and no-one spotted the signs. There is not enough knowledge out there on sepsis. 

“It is so crucial to spot the signs within the first ‘Golden Hour’ as medical evidence has shown that the risk of death is halved and survival rates are more than 80 per cent.

“My mum’s family were well known in the community, with a family of 11! When she and Jeanie were younger they were teal tom boys and were always getting in trouble!”

Donna and her family have organised another charity disco at the Kelty Club on April 7 in aid of FEAT (Fiona Elizabeth Agnew Trust).

The charity launched a Scotland-wide campaign recently to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis, with the Scottish Government.

If people act promptly, it’s estimated that it would save the lives of 1,000 Scots each year who otherwise would have died from sepsis. Craig Stobo, the chairman and founder of FEAT, will speak about his own experience of sepsis at the event.

Donna added: “We cannot bring back those we have lost to the condition but we will continue to strive to eradicate sepsis once and for all, through raising awareness and funding research into this deadly public health issue.”

Tickets for the disco and raffle are £5 and are available from Kelty Club or Donna on 07825108184.