World Sepsis Day is held annually on 13 September in order to increase awareness of this condition which accounts for at least 8 million deaths worldwide per year. Despite the widespread media coverage, statistics show that as few as 7% of people are aware of sepsis in some countries. With early recognition and treatment, mortality can be reduced by 50%, so raising awareness of sepsis could prevent many needless deaths worldwide.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is the body’s response to overwhelming and life-threatening infection and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s the body’s over-active and toxic response to an infection. The immune system usually works to fight any germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites) to prevent infection. However, for reasons medics don’t quite understand, sometimes the immune system stops fighting the “invaders,” and begins to turn on itself. This is the start of sepsis.
People who are at high risk of contracting an infection (such as the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses and those with an impaired immune system) are at higher risk of developing sepsis. For more sepsis definitions click here.
What are the symptoms of sepsis?
- patches of discoloured skin
- decreased urination
- changes in mental ability
- low platelet (blood clotting cells) count
- problems breathing
- abnormal heart functions
- chills due to fall in body temperature
Sepsis can be diagnosed at an early stage with basic tests such as temperature, breathing rate and heart rate. The longer sepsis is allowed to attack the body, the higher the chance of a serious injury or fatal consequences.
The UK Sepsis Trust work continually to raise awareness of sepsis and to improve guidance so that the number of avoidable deaths and other life changing effects, such as limb amputation, can be reduced. As part of our commitment to reduce and alleviate the impact of sepsis, Boyes Turner are supporting the UK Sepsis Trust in raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease and the importance of urgent medical treatment. Our hope is that together we can help bring an end to the suffering caused by this devastating disease.
Boyes Turner’s specialist medical negligence team have dealt with numerous cases where delayed treatment or misdiagnosis of sepsis has led to life changing consequences. Click here to read how we have helped families investigate their concerns about injuries caused by negligent medical treatment of sepsis.