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Written on 21st May 2021 by

Sepsis is a potentially deadly condition that can occur when the body overreacts in response to an infection. Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system goes  into overdrive, resulting in inflammation, a dangerous drop in blood pressure and damage to organs and tissues of the body from a lack of oxygenated blood supply. Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency. If signs of severe infection or sepsis are not treated quickly and appropriately, sepsis can result in severe, permanent injury and death.

Early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is vital to aid recovery and patient survival. However, lack of awareness amongst medical and healthcare practitioners often leads to a delay in  recognition and treatment of sepsis. Negligent failure to diagnose or take urgent action to treat a patient who is suffering from sepsis results in severe, permanent disability which is life-changing, both for the affected individual and their family.

What are the most common mistakes in sepsis medical care?

The UK Sepsis Trust is urging people, and businesses, to become more ‘sepsis savvy’ by learning and teaching others to recognise the six key signs and symptoms of sepsis:

  • slurred speech and/or confusion;
  • extreme shivering or muscle pain;
  • passing no urine in 24 hours;
  • severe breathlessness;
  • ‘I feel like I might die’;
  • mottled, pale or slightly blue skin.

In a medical environment, doctors are expected to be alert to these and other signs of sepsis, and to take action to diagnose and treat the condition without delay. Correct treatment of sepsis depends on:

  • fast recognition (diagnosis);
  • fast administration of intravenous (IV) antibiotics;
  • fast involvement of senior doctors.

Examples of negligent sepsis medical care can include:

  • failure, misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis of sepsis;
  • delays in carrying out tests, including blood tests and cultures;
  • failure to refer the patient for tests and treatment despite signs of sepsis;
  • failure or delays in administering IV antibiotic treatment and appropriate fluids;
  • delays in involving a senior doctor in the treatment of a patient with suspected sepsis;
  • inappropriately discharging a patient who has signs of sepsis from hospital;
  • failures in managing an underlying condition or injury leading to sepsis.

Boyes Turner – our medical negligence sepsis cases

Boyes Turner’s medical negligence team have helped many individuals, or their bereaved families, recover compensation and rebuild their lives after receiving negligent medical treatment for sepsis. Some examples of Boyes Turner’s medical negligence sepsis cases include:

Can I claim for sepsis medical negligence?

Sepsis misdiagnosis and/or a delay in diagnosis, investigation and treatment can lead to a claim for compensation if the patient suffered severe injury as a result of medical negligence. Individuals who recover from sepsis can be left with permanent injuries and disability, which can be debilitating, lead to psychological injury and affect their ability to live independently, work or participate in leisure activities and family life.  A successful sepsis medical negligence claim can secure compensation, helping to pay for rehabilitation, care and other needs. If a family member has died because of sepsis medical negligence, their dependent/s may be able to bring a claim for compensation.

If you or a family member have suffered serious injury caused by medical negligence, you can find out more about making a claim, free and confidentially, by contacting us.