A DEVASTATED Gourock man has told how his wife tragically died of sepsis only a week after becoming ill with a sore shoulder.

Raymond Swankie lost his 'best friend' Louise last June, aged only 38, leaving him to bring up their baby son without her.

The fit and healthy mum awoke with a pain in her shoulder, was rushed to hospital and seven days later she was dead.

The couple had married less than a year before and their son Finlay was only 15 months old when Louise, who worked as a teaching assistant, passed away.

Raymond, 41, of Gourock, said: "I miss her every day.

"There isn't a day goes by when I don't think about her.

"I was devastated.

"I couldn't believe it had happened and thought 'why me?' and 'what if I had got her to the hospital quicker?', you always think that.

"Louise was my best friend.

"We met in 2015, married two years later, and it's all been ripped away."

He said Louise was never ill and played football for Bishopton Ladies and bowled at Meikleriggs Bowling Club in Paisley.

Raymond, who works for Inverclyde Council, said: "Louise was bubbly and constantly laughing, she always had a smile on her face and was very family-orientated.

"She was over the moon when she had Finlay."

Raymond explained how a simple pain sparked a terrifying set of events that was to prove fatal.

He said: "Louise woke up on the Saturday morning, the second of June, with a sore shoulder.

"She couldn't move her arm.

"I called the doctor who came out and she was rushed to hospital in an ambulance.

"Her shoulder was swollen and I thought it was a chipped bone.

"She was taken to A&E at Inverclyde Royal and there were different people coming in and out doing tests.

"She told me her arm was uncomfortable and was itchy.

"I moved it and I spotted a bruise the size of a fingernail underneath her arm.

"It soon became the size of a 50 pence piece.

"It was like a light switch going on for the doctors.

"She was diagnosed with sepsis and went through a five-hour operation on the Monday night.

"They were going to move her to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the top surgeons there looked at the scans and within half an hour they were down at the IRH."

But Louise's condition deteriorated and she was rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary the next day.

Raymond and Louise's mum kept a vigil by her beside but she passed away a few days later.

Raymond said: "You always have that hope that something was going to work, that the medication would start to work."

The couple had been making plans for the future and had their Greenock flat up for sale with the intention of buying a house to settle with Finlay, who turns two next month.

Raymond recently moved back to his home town to a house with a garden for the toddler.

He said: "My focus is on Finlay and being there for him.

"He is my pride and joy.

"We don't know what is going on in his wee mind but he is very contented and settled.

"I feel I owe it to Louise to do a good job - I'm everything, his mum and his dad.

"It's been hard but I've got a good support network from both grans and families, friends and work colleagues.

"The amount of support I've had has been amazing."

He says he can't thank the doctors and nurses enough for what they did for Louise.

Raymond said: "The NHS sometimes gets a bad name but I cannot fault them, from the doctor coming out to the house to the ambulance guys right up to the doctors when we walked out of the hospital on Saturday, it was exceptional.

"The Monday after she passed away I spoke to the doctor who had come out to see her and she was in tears.

"She couldn't believe what had happened."

He also returned to Glasgow Royal with a cheque for £1,100 for the staff fund and £200 towards research.

Raymond said: "One of the consultants who had been there when Louise died was in theatre at the time but they got someone to take his place so he could come out to speak to us.

"Even when Louise was in the intensive care unit, nurses on their day off would call in to see how she was.

"It shows you they are very caring."

He has also welcomed a new development which could mean that sepsis could be detected in minutes by a simple blood test.

The research by scientists at Strathclyde University would mean doctors could prescribe the correct antibiotics to treat the deadly condition.

Raymond said: "It is great news that people are working behind the scenes to push this research forward.

"If it can help one person it's worthwhile.

"I wouldn't want anyone to go through what we've been through."

Raymond has now joined forces with friend Stewart McCartney, who owns the Spinnaker Hotel, and Stewart's partner Chris Fraser, who lost her brother to sepsis, to raise funds and awareness of the killer condition.

It is triggered by the body's response to an infection and attacks healthy tissues and organs.

Warning signs to look out for are very high or low temperature, uncontrolled shivering, confusion, not passing as much urine as possible and cold or blotchy hands and feet.

The friends are hosting the charity night on April 13 at the Spinnaker, in aid of Sepsis Research.

Raymond said: "Chrissy spoke to me after Louise's funeral and told me about her brother Paul.

"She promised me we would do something together helping to raise awareness of sepsis.

"If our awareness night can help identify the early stages of sepsis then this could help save a life."