Sepsis Compensation Claims

Sepsis is a stark term the general public is familiar with but is often not fully understood, so what is Sepsis?

Laura Reaney

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If you are searching the internet to find out more about Sepsis claims, you will probably see a number of articles about Sepsis with titles that are along the lines of:

'Sepsis: the silent killer that no-one knows about', or 'Sepsis: the disease that few people have heard of.'

In the years since some of these articles were written, it is probably true to say that the public in general, are likely to have more awareness about Sepsis, than once they did.

World Sepsis Day takes place annually on September 13th to help ensure that awareness about Sepsis is kept very much at the forefront of people’s minds. The UK Sepsis Trust does some excellent work in raising awareness of this life-threatening condition too. However, it also exists to be a spearhead in the fight against Sepsis.

Over the past few years, the media, have started to highlight individual tragic cases where mismanagement of, or incorrect or missed diagnosis of Sepsis, has resulted in the death of patients.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, 245,000 people in this country alone, are affected by Sepsis. It is responsible for the deaths of around 48,000 people every year in the UK. When that is expressed as approximately 132 people dying from Sepsis-related illnesses every day, then the size of the problem becomes even more worrying and startling.

Notwithstanding the fact that Sepsis is being talked about more, there are still many people who do not know what Sepsis is. That is understandable if the illness has not personally affected them or their families.

More worrying and less acceptable is the fact that some GPs and other health professionals are still failing to identify and adequately treat the symptoms of Sepsis until it is too late. When this happens, those people who suffer the consequences of the healthcare professional’s negligence may decide to make Sepsis negligence claims.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is also referred to as Septicaemia or Blood Poisoning.

Sepsis is a medical condition that occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to an infection. Major swelling spreads throughout the body. This inflammation, combined with blood clotting, reduces the blood flow of an affected patient. Sepsis moves fast and can very quickly (within hours) cause organ failure and death, in the worst of cases.

Who is at risk of Sepsis?

Anyone can get Sepsis, but those most at risk are:

  • The elderly (over 65)
  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with pre-existing conditions (diabetes, kidney disease, lung conditions or cancer)
  • Hospital patients
  • People who have weak immune systems
  • Patients using catheters or breathing tubes
  • Patients with severe burns or large wounds.

What are the symptoms of Sepsis?

A breakdown of the more common symptoms has been set out for SEPSIS in the same way that the FAST campaign is used to identify the symptoms of Strokes.

This sets out the following warning signs of Sepsis in the form of a mnemonic:-

  • Slurred Speech
  • Extreme muscle pain
  • Passing no urine
  • Severe Breathlessness
  • I feel I might die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

What is the treatment for Sepsis?

As Sepsis is an illness that deteriorates astonishingly quickly, the best form of treatment begins with early recognition of the symptoms of Sepsis. This is achievable using antibiotics. It also gives the best chance of making a full and lasting recovery from the illness with no lasting side effects.

Once the illness has progressed to the next stage, treatment becomes more urgent and more invasive. Beyond early intervention, the next stage of progressive Sepsis is:

  • Severe Sepsis – affects the organs. Blood and oxygen supply to the organs is reduced.
  • Septic shock – the blood pressure starts to get dangerously low

In these advanced forms of Sepsis, emergency hospital treatment is required. This usually takes the form of intravenous drugs being administered.

When the patient develops severe Sepsis or septic shock, even if they make a recovery, they can be left with severe and life-changing injuries. Severe Sepsis can result in amputation.

Why do people make Sepsis Medical Negligence claims?

As already outlined, the key to successful treatment of and recovery from, Sepsis is spotting the symptoms early. It is incumbent on medical professionals to diagnose Sepsis at an early stage. Delays in the diagnosis of cases of Sepsis by GPs and other medical staff could lead to severe outcomes for the patient.

Sometimes the symptoms may be spotted but misdiagnosed as something other than Sepsis. The result of this can be that the wrong treatment is given, or alternatively no treatment at all is provided (if the symptoms are wrongly diagnosed as being those of a mild illness).

In 2019, in an effort to reduce instances of missed diagnoses of Sepsis, NHS England produced what they called a ‘Long Term Plan’ to improve the speed with which healthcare professionals diagnose Sepsis in patients and provide the correct treatment.

This guidance was drawn up by the Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of Surgeons, NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) and the UK Sepsis Trust. This collaboration of such powerful organisations emphasises the severity of the problem that missed diagnosis of Sepsis is causing.

The new guidance, coming as it does after the 'NICE Guidelines on Sepsis diagnosis and management’ of 2016, is intended to make significant inroads into reducing the numbers of cases where missed diagnoses of Sepsis lead to serious repercussions for patients. This guidance focuses on the need for speed involved in:

  • Recognition of the symptoms of Sepsis
  • Administration of intravenous antibiotics
  • Involvement of senior doctors

When healthcare professionals are responsible for misdiagnosis (mistakenly diagnosing Sepsis as something else), missed diagnosis of Sepsis (not spotting the signs of Sepsis), or mismanagement of Sepsis, this can lead to affected patients making medical negligence claims.

Spencers Solicitors have helped Sepsis sufferers to make successful Sepsis claims. We are also able to help the family members of those who have died from Sepsis as a result of clinical negligence, in making Sepsis claims.

Our specialist team of medical negligence solicitors are always here to advise you if you or a loved one has suffered from the consequences of getting Sepsis because of failures by medical professionals.

Likewise, if the doctors have misinterpreted test results which have led to unnecessary suffering and loss, a claim for medical negligence may be possible in those circumstances too.

If you think that you or a family member has been the victim of medical negligence as a result of Sepsis negligence then call Spencers on 08000 93 00 94 or leave your details on our contact page (and we will call you back).

One of our experienced medical negligence solicitors will be on hand to provide legal advice on whether they think you have reasonable prospects of being able to make a successful Sepsis compensation claim.

What can I claim for in a Sepsis Negligence Compensation Claim?

Compensation for the injury aspect of a Sepsis claim is often referred to as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (with 'amenity' standing for the effect the injury has had on your day to day life). Whilst it forms the core part of any Sepsis medical negligence claim, other claims for damages are also important parts of the claim too. These include compensation to cover the cost of:

  • Future medical treatment
  • Medical Care
  • Adaptations that are needed to your home
  • Specialist equipment
  • Loss of earnings
  • Any other costs that are specific to your case

Why should I choose Spencers Solicitors to deal with my Sepsis Negligence Claim?

Medical negligence claims can be very complex and at times, difficult to prove. Sepsis negligence claims are no different. Because Sepsis is such a fast moving and aggressive illness, proving medical negligence can be difficult.

At Spencers Solicitors we have a specialist team of medical negligence solicitors who understand the complexities involved in helping clients to make successful Sepsis negligence claims.

They know the questions to ask, the evidence that needs gathering, the complex medical issues involved and the experts that they will need to engage with, to ensure that they are successful in getting you Sepsis negligence compensation.

Once we have established that your claim has reasonable prospects of success, in most cases we will be able to offer to take on your claim by using a conditional fee arrangement to fund the cost of making your claim. This type of funding is often referred to as a No Win No Fee agreement.

Call Spencers Solicitors for an initial, free and confidential discussion with one of our medical negligence solicitors if you or a loved one has suffered as a result of Sepsis negligence by a health professional. Call 08000 93 00 94 or leave a message for us to call you back. There are time limits for bringing a claim, so don't delay in getting in touch!

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