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Sepsis is a life-threatening, serious complication of infection, which, if untreated, can lead to permanent disability or death. 

Sepsis can affect anyone and often does so without warning, overwhelming the body’s immune system within a matter of hours. Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose but is treatable if caught early.

Healthcare professionals are expected to be alert to the symptoms and signs of sepsis and respond quickly because delays in diagnosis and treatment can be deadly.  

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team have recovered compensation for many clients with devastating injuries caused by negligently delayed diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. Where serious injury has been caused by sepsis negligence, we secure funding for early rehabilitation, care and specialist equipment, adapted accommodation and purpose-built prostheses. Clients who work with us experience restored mobility, independence and self-esteem. Our clients’ settlements replace lost earnings and can help provide financial security at a time when life is difficult enough for those coping with a new disability.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a serious complication of infection which, without quick treatment, can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Sepsis most commonly develops from infections in the lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract, abdomen and pelvis, but it can arise from infection in any part of the body.

Leading sepsis charity, The UK Sepsis Trust, estimates that in the UK there are around 250,000 cases of sepsis a year. The condition is fatal for 52,000 people a year, that’s 20% of those affected. In the UK, there are more deaths from sepsis than from breast and bowel cancer combined and many of the survivors are left permanently disabled.

‘Severe sepsis’(affecting the organs or reducing blood and oxygen supply to the tissues) and ‘septic shock’ (where blood pressure becomes dangerously low) are medical emergencies. These advanced forms of the condition require immediate admission to hospital and emergency treatment with intravenous antibiotics. However, in its early stages, before the infection has spread or caused damage to other areas of the body, sepsis may sometimes be treatable with oral antibiotics at home.

Early recognition and immediate antibiotic treatment are the key to successful recovery from sepsis. With correct medical care, lasting, full recovery, without long-term consequences is possible. Sepsis strikes quickly but the condition is treatable.

Recent cases

  • £750,000 compensation for a client who suffered amputation of her left hand, the fingers and thumb on her right hand, the toes on her left foot, and her right leg below the knee, and psychological injury,  after negligent treatment of post-operative sepsis and necrotising fasciitis. She  suffered septic shock, multi-system organ failure, ischaemia, brachial thrombosis and peripheral vascular compromise, causing gangrene in her hands and feet. She contacted us after her previous solicitors told her that her claim could not be pursued. We pursued the strongly defended claim and secured an out of court settlement which enabled our client to pay for prostheses, therapies, necessary equipment, an adapted car and adaptations to her home.
  • £500,000 compensation for a woman who suffered septicaemia and bowel injuries leaving her with a permanent colostomy after mistakes during surgery to remove an ovarian cyst and subsequent treatment delays. The hospital maintained its strong denial of liability throughout the case but ultimately made an acceptable settlement offer shortly before trial.
  • £290,000 compensation for a man who suffered faecal peritonitis, septic shock and multi-system failure after negligent bowel surgery. He was left with a permanent injuries including a colostomy, incisional hernias, extensive scarring from surgery and skin grafting.
  • £165,000 compensation for a client who was left with severe bowel dysfunction, leg weakness and a psychological injury after hospital delays in recognising and treating a surgical injury to his bowel led to extensive intra-abdominal sepsis, peritonitis, kidney stones and bladder problems, incisional hernias and a faecal fistula.
  • £95,000 compensation and a formal apology for the family of a woman who died in hospital after A&E delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. Vital antibiotic treatment was delayed for four hours whilst hospital staff failed in 18 attempts to insert the cannula needed to administer the antibiotic medication, before calling a registrar to place a central line. The woman died from septic shock  before treatment was administered.

What counts as sepsis medical negligence?

Sepsis is treatable if caught early, but it can be difficult to diagnose as early symptoms can be confused with other less serious conditions. Where sepsis is suspected, antibiotic treatment must be started immediately if serious injury is to be avoided. Every minute counts in stopping the spread and advancement of the disease.

NHS England has issued guidance to NHS Trusts which is intended to improve the speed of diagnosis and treatment for patients arriving in A&E departments with symptoms of sepsis. The guidance requires hospital staff to alert senior doctors if patients with suspected sepsis do not respond to treatment within an hour.

Correct treatment for sepsis involves:

  • quick recognition
  • quick administration of intravenous antibiotics
  • quick involvement of senior doctors

We have helped patients who have been severely injured and families of those who have died after:

  • delays or failure to refer a patient with symptoms of sepsis to hospital
  • delays or failure to admit the patient to hospital
  • delays in diagnosing, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose sepsis
  • delays or failure in carrying out appropriate tests
  • misinterpretation of test results
  • delays in administering urgent IV antibiotics
  • delay or failure in calling for senior medical review of the patient
  • sending home a patient with sepsis
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How Boyes Turner help clients after sepsis negligence

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team have helped secure compensation for many clients with severe, permanent disability, including multiple amputation, which was caused by delays in diagnosis and incorrect treatment of sepsis. We have also recovered compensation for bereaved dependent family members of those whose who have died as a result of sepsis negligence.

We have decades of experience in serious injury claims and understand the devastation that untreated life-threatening infectious conditions leave behind. When acting for clients with severe injury, we aim to secure liability admissions and judgments as quickly as possible. This approach means that we can obtain interim funding to get rehabilitation started, and independence and participation in work/family life restored.

Our clients’ high value compensation awards and settlements give them early access to rehabilitation, bespoke prostheses, specialist equipment, therapies, care and adaptations to housing. Compensation can also ease the financial hardship which follows the loss or reduction of the injured provider’s or the deceased’s loss of earnings.

Where the injured client is a child, Boyes Turner’s uniquely integrated, multi-disciplinary legal team can help them secure educational placements or support for children with special educational needs (SEN) arising from disabling injuries.

Our clinical negligence lawyers support the valuable work of leading sepsis charity, the UK Sepsis Trust. We are committed to helping raise awareness of the signs, symptoms and seriousness of sepsis and the dangers of delays in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating disease.

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Meet your team

Susan Brown

Partner

Richard Money-Kyrle

Partner

Julie Marsh

Senior associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Sita Soni

Associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne

Solicitor

Ben Ireland

Solicitor

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Aimee Gaston

Trainee Solicitor

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

What causes sepsis?

What are the signs of sepsis?

What is the treatment for sepsis?

Who is at risk of sepsis?
What are the long-term side effects of sepsis?
How much compensation can I claim for sepsis negligence?

How much compensation can you get for medical negligence?

How to make a medical negligence claim?

How long do medical negligence claims take?

How to fund a medical negligence claim?

How can you prove medical negligence?
Is there a time limit for claiming medical negligence compensation?
Will I need to go to court to claim medical negligence compensation?

Sepsis negligence cases

Awards & Accreditations

Our teams have been nationally recognised over the past decade for their dedication and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients

What our clients say

Our clients constantly recognize us as the most experienced, professional, efficient and supportive

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"Very Professional "

Boyes Turner helped me through one of the toughest times in my life. They were very professional whilst remaining friendly. At times the process was emotionally tough but they were very patient with me and went through everything with me until I understood it. I cannot recommend them enough. 

Boyes Turner Client

"We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough"

Words cannot express how grateful we are to Susan and her team for the level of commitment and dedication shown to our family during a time which would be difficult for anyone. Susan demonstrates a calm professional manner which helped us to feel at ease. Her level of knowledge has proven to be the best in the field and we fully recommend her to anyone seeking to investigate birth injury claims. You can be confident that Susan and her team will scrutinise the medical notes thoroughly and will keep you well informed throughout the process. We are very pleased with the outcome of our child’s case and know that her work has resulted in justice being achieved. Our family will now be able to move forward in the knowledge that the finances are securely in place for our child to receive a suitable care package, purchase equipment and receive necessary lifelong therapy. We cannot thank Susan and her team at Boyes Turner enough.

Boyes Turner Client

"I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell"

I would like to say a huge thank you to Fran Rothwell for the exceptional work that she has carried out on my behalf. She is knowledgeable, efficient and has great attention to detail.Fran has kept me informed throughout the entire process and has been a great support to me, always being at the end of the phone, or on an email, whenever I needed her. She truly wants the best for her client and is passionate about getting justice. Fran also has a kind and compassionate nature and takes her time to explain what is going on in a clear and simple way. This has been extremely helpful to me during a difficult time.It is certainly reassuring having such strong women behind me.

Boyes Turner Client

"The journey with Julie was interesting! "

From a speculative inquiry to a life changing award, the journey with Julie Marsh was interesting. Julie kept me informed along the way explaining exactly what was going on and more importantly why. The team that was assembled certainly knew their stuff which meant I got all the necessary support to keep going. Thank you all. 

Kevin Ridsdale

"Successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation"

Boyes Turner staff were always helpful and quick to respond. Communicating from the other side of the world presented no problems. Boyes Turner secured generous early interim payments that allowed me to continue my (non-funded) medical treatment that otherwise I could never have afforded. My Boyes Turner solicitor successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation and continuation of funding for future medical treatment and associated costs giving me great peace of mind. Thank you so much Annabelle! I would recommend Boyes Turner solicitors. They are professional, courteous and helpful. 

Brian