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By Spencers Solicitors

  Helen Reynolds    
  January 24, 2022

What is SEPSIS and how serious is it?

Sepsis, sometimes called septicemia or blood poisoning is a life-threatening condition. It is the body’s extreme reaction to an infection; when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs. According to the UK Sepsis Trust, 5 people die with sepsis every hour in the UK.

Sepsis can be hard to spot; symptoms can initially look like flu or a chest infection. There is no single sign, and symptoms can present differently in adults and children.

SEPSIS - What is it and how serious is it?

According to symptoms in adults include;

  • Confusion or slurred speech
  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it
  • Difficulty breathing, breathlessness or very fast breathing
  • A feeling of being very unwell
  • Not passing urine all day
  • Continued vomiting
  • Swelling, pain or redness around a cut or wound
  • A very high, or low temperature, feeling hot or cold to the touch, shivering.

Anyone with an infection can get sepsis, but there are some people who are more likely to suffer from sepsis. Doctors and health professionals should therefore be extra vigilant when assessing the following patients;

  • Babies under the age of 1, particular if they are premature or their mother had an infection while pregnant
  • People over the age of 75
  • People with diabetes
  • Those with a weakened immune system
  • People who have recently had surgery or a serious illness
  • Women who have just given birth, had a miscarriage or abortion

Failure to treat sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure, long term damage, or death. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are therefore crucial. Sepsis needs treatment in hospital straight away because it can get worse quickly and you should be given antibiotics within 1 hour of arriving at hospital. For many patients, with early diagnosis sepsis is easily treatable.


For the majority of patients, symptoms of sepsis are noticed quickly, and suitable treatment is provided. However, an undiagnosed, or delayed diagnosis case of sepsis can have devastating and long-lasting effects and can prove fatal.

If there are delays in diagnosing and treating sepsis, you may be entitled to compensation.

Mistakes which can lead to a medical negligence claim include;

Misdiagnosis Where a Doctor believed you were suffering from a different condition
Delay in diagnosis Where it takes longer than necessary to diagnosis sepsis, and hence a delay in treatment
Medication mistakes Where wrong medication or dosage is given
Test mistakes Where a Doctor misinterprets test results, or relevant tests are not carried out

If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a mistake when dealing with sepsis, contact our specialist team who will advise you whether you may be entitled to compensation. The majority of our medical negligence cases are funded by a No Win, No Fee agreement.

Every claim is different and the compensation you may be entitled to will depend on the circumstances and severity of your case. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, and financial losses or expenses such as lost earnings, or the cost of private treatment or care.

It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, as there are time limits in place to make a claim. Generally, a claim should be made within 3 years of the date of negligence.

Taking legal action may provide you with answers, by establishing how it happened and why, and may also help to prevent it from happening to others in the future.

About the Author

Helen is a Chartered Legal Executive within our Serious Injury Team.

Helen, who joined the business in 2000, was admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in 2006. She has extensive experience of dealing with personal injury claims having worked within the claimant personal injury field for over fifteen years. Helen is a specialist in complex and serious injuries including head, brain, and spinal cord injuries. Helen works closely with clients at each stage of the claim to provide the support and advice they need every step of the way.

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