THE family of a teenage girl who died from sepsis have spoken of their heartbreak and their anger that equipment which may have saved her life is not readily available for patients in Wales.

Lucy Ellis, aged 16, died after falling ill and being admitted to Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital.

Doctors diagnosed her with sepsis but by the time necessary specialist equipment arrived from London, her health had deteriorated too much for her to be saved.

Lucy was a student at Bassaleg School and an accomplished gymnast with the Welsh Acrobatic team.

Her family have since set up the Lucy Ellis Foundation in her memory, which they will use to raise awareness about sepsis and campaign for specialist treatment machines to be made available in Wales.

Lucy's twin sister, Sophie, said: "Lucy was such a beautiful young lady, but as she was my identical twin I knew she beautiful in every way.

"I will always love my twin, we were born together and even though we’re not dying together I will carry my life on like she would want me too, I will do her proud. I will always love you TwinTwong."

While waiting for the specialist equipment to arrive, Lucy was placed on an automated CPR machine for two hours. Her family say the visual trauma of witnessing this has resulted in them needing counselling for PTSD-like symptoms.

The Ellis family's grief has been coupled with a disbelief at the fact no Welsh hospitals have access to blood-filtration machines, called ECMOs, to treat sepsis patients.

Lucy's father, Neil, said: "Having to wait two hours for a specialist team and equipment is just not acceptable.

"Teams currently have to travel from these different centres in England to provide portable specialised treatment with ECMO, at great expense, to be transferred to these centres in England which can take hours.

"I personally feel Wales should have an ECMO facility in Cardiff, irrespective of how big a population is required to justify it. How can you put a price on any life?"

"Having one in Wales will prevent significant delay and in my opinion save lives."

The Ellis family is now investigating the costs of ECMO equipment and the staffing and training costs required to provide the treatment in Wales, Mr Ellis added.

In tribute to Lucy, who died on May 15, Welsh Gymnastics said: "Lucy’s dedication to the sport was second to none and she was a true professional. She made some very close friendships whilst taking part in a sport that she loved."

And Bassaleg School said: "Lucy was an absolute credit to Bassaleg school; a young woman who was everything you could hope for in a student. It’s a privilege for us to have played a part in her life and we are forever changed for the better for having known her."

A Welsh Government spokesperson said about the lack of access to ECMO treatment in Wales: “Wales’ efforts to improve the prevention, diagnosis and early treatment of sepsis have received international recognition.

"We were the first country in the world to implement a system to ensure early escalation of patients seen to be deteriorating and recent figures suggest the mortality figures associated with sepsis have decreased.

"Welsh patients receive ECMO treatment at Glenfield, Leicester, one of only four highly specialised centres in the UK providing ECMO for adults.

"Currently there are not enough patients in Wales requiring ECMO per year to make a centre in Wales practicable.”

For more information on the Lucy Ellis Foundation and to donate visit