September 13, 2019
Friday 13th 2019 is Word Sepsis Day. Throughout the world there will be events such as photo exhibitions, fund-raising dinners, social media campaigns and open days in hospitals, all aimed at raising awareness about Sepsis.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a serious illness which occurs when the body is forced to fight a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. The body’s chemicals which are released into the blood to fight the infection cause widespread inflammation throughout the body.
Sepsis is a particularly major problem in hospitals, whilst recovering from an operation. However, it is not the only time that it happens.
Any infection can cause sepsis, but the most likely causes are;
- Bloodstream infections
- Abdominal infections
- Kidney infections
Anyone can get sepsis, but those at most risk are;
- Young children
- Senior citizens
- People with weaker immune systems such as those who are being treated for cancer through the use of chemotherapy
- People being treated by the use of invasive devices eg, breathing tubes or catheters
Why is there a need to raise awareness about Sepsis?
It kills more than 52,000 people a year in the UK. Over 150,000 people develop sepsis every year here too. Of those that survive, over 26,500 suffer life-changing disabilities such as amputations and organ failure.
The Press have been reporting for a number of years that the annual number of new cases of Sepsis, is on the rise.
Reasons for the rise are thought to include;
- New systems of recording data by the medical profession, meaning that some simple infections are now being recorded as Sepsis (according to the medical journal ‘The Lancet’).
- The UK has an ageing population, living longer and that is more vulnerable to infections that commonly lead to Sepsis, such as flu, pneumonia and urinary tract infections.
- Antibiotic resistance in the population.
The importance of early recognition of the symptoms of Sepsis
Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the Sepsis Trust has this to say about Sepsis;
“More people die in the UK every year from sepsis than from breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Yet with early diagnosis it is easily treatable and we believe that earlier diagnosis and treatment across the UK would save at least 14,000 lives a year.”
Ensuring people get diagnosed at the earliest possible stage, is one of the main aims of having a World Sepsis Day.
Despite the increasing awareness campaigns, sadly some cases of failure to diagnose or promptly treat the symptoms of Sepsis are due to failures by health professionals. Negligence by members of the medical profession can and does occur. In the case of Sepsis it does so when they fail to recognise the symptoms of the illness quickly enough or even at all. Without prompt, effective treatment Sepsis can cause death or long-term disability. As the initial symptoms of sepsis are often quite mild, they can get overlooked by doctors. As already noted above, this early stage is when sepsis can most successfully be treated. If the symptoms are missed at this stage then the sepsis is likely to get worse leading to a risk of organ failure, septic shock or in worst case scenarios, death.
Spencers Solicitors have extensive experience of acting for the victims of medical negligence in relation to missed diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, of Sepsis by health professionals. We have helped many to make successful sepsis compensation claims. If you or a family member have suffered medical negligence in relation to a late or missed sepsis diagnosis, call Spencers on 08000 93 00 94 for a no obligation chat with one of our Sepsis compensation solicitors. Alternatively, you can contact us online to leave your details for us to call you back.
About the Author
Karen is a Solicitor within our Serious Injury Team.
Karen worked full time in Personal Injury Legal Practice whilst completing her Law Degree and Legal Practice Course. She has worked representing Claimants in Personal Injury claims for over 15 years. She is experienced in Road traffic accidents, Accidents in the work place, Occupiers Liability and Public Liability Claims.
Karen also specialises in Clinical Negligence work representing Claimants.