Diagnosing sepsis – or septicaemia as it is also known – within a matter of hours is essential, otherwise it could result in multi-organ failure or death.
According to the NHS, there are 100,000 people admitted to hospital with sepsis in the UK each year – and around 37,000 will die from the condition.
Unfortunately, not all cases of sepsis are diagnosed properly, putting patients at great risk.
As specialists who regularly deal with sepsis claims, we know how important a compensation settlement can be to help deal with the rehabilitation of those lucky enough to survive – and ease the financial worries of those who are left bereaved.
If a delay has been caused by a medical professional failing to spot the signs correctly, or they didn’t react with the required urgency, you may be able to make a sepsis compensation claim.
Although many delays in diagnosis or treatment can prove fatal, if a person does survive they can be in a critical condition for a lengthy period of time.
Because of this they will require a protracted hospital stay, and it may be necessary to make a sepsis negligence claim for the pain and suffering caused, or any potential loss of earnings.
If you or someone you know has experienced sepsis because of a late or misdiagnosis, call one of our medical negligence solicitors today.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis – or septicaemia as it is also known – is a potentially life-threatening case of blood poisoning that occurs when the body’s response to an infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs.
Because the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, it can lead to a series of reactions that causes widespread inflammation, blood clotting, organ failure and death.
Around four out of every 10 people who get the illness will die, especially if it is not recognised early and treated promptly.
Common septicemia symptoms
As a fast-moving illness, the symptoms of sepsis will appear rapidly but there are a number of tell-tale signs, including:
- Extreme chills and shivering
- Extreme muscle pain
- Fast breathing
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy and faint
- Loss of consciousness
- Reduced urine production
- Severe breathlessness
- Mottled or discoloured skin
- Slurred speech
However, when doctors are diagnosing Sepsis there are actually three main stages of the infection:
- Severe sepsis
- Septic shock
If you display two of the symptoms below, a doctor may diagnose you as having Sepsis:
- A fever above 101ºF or a temperature below 96.8ºF
- A heart rate of more than 90 beats per minute
- Increased breathing rate of more than 20 breaths per minute
- A suspected or confirmed infection
‘Severe Sepsis’ symptoms
Severe Sepsis occurs when there is organ failure and you may be diagnosed with it if you have one or more of the following signs:
- Abnormal heart beat
- Breathing problems
- Changes in mental ability
- Extreme chills because of a fall in body temperature
- Extreme weakness
- Low platelet count
- Patches of discolored skin
- Severe weakness
‘Septic Shock’ symptoms
When a person has a very low blood pressure combined with two or more of the above symptoms, this will usually result in Septic Shock.
Common causes of septicemia
Sepsis usually occurs as a result of an infection. Whilst it is more commonly associated with infections in the lungs, abdomen, urinary tract and pelvis, it can also be caused by:
- Gallbladder infection
- Post-surgical infection
- Urinary tract infection
As with most infections, some people are more likely to suffer from Sepsis such as the elderly or the young.
Anyone who has recently had surgery, is undergoing chemotherapy or people with HIV are also more vulnerable to developing sepsis.
Most people who develop one of these infections do not go on to suffer sepsis.
In healthy people, white blood cells are sent by the immune system to the site of infection, keeping it in one place and destroying the germs.
With aggressive infections, or people who have a weakened immune system, the germs can spread to other areas of the body.
If this happens, the immune system goes into overdrive – sending white blood cells all over the body and causing inflammation.
This can do more harm than the original infection – harming tissues and disrupting the blood supply.
Because of this, oxygen levels in the blood supply decrease and are prevented from reaching vital organs. This cause the body’s blood pressure to drop and results in septic shock.
The devastating impact of a delayed Sepsis diagnosis
Sepsis deaths always have a devastating and long-lasting impact on the families and loved ones who are left behind but, unfortunately, this happens much too often.
We understand that obtaining answers is one of the main reasons why people pursue sepsis negligence claims, especially when a death has occurred as a result of illnesses or conditions which should have been prevented, such as a pressure sore, with appropriate medical care.
If you or a family member has experienced sepsis whilst under the care of the NHS or a medical professional, we may be able to help you get the answers you deserve.
You could also be eligible to pursue a sepsis compensation claim if you or a loved one did not receive an appropriate level of treatment when in hospital.
Because this sort of medical negligence claim is a complex one, we would always advise speaking to a sepsis compensation solicitor who specialises in this area of law to find out if you are able to make a claim.
Here at Hudgell Solicitors, we boast years of sepsis claims experience and have successfully secured damages settlements for the emotional, physical and financial loss which should never have been caused in the first place.
By speaking to one of our sepsis claims solicitors, you can gain access to expert legal advice in full confidentially and without any cost or commitment.
It could help you to discover your legal rights, explore the options available and decide what action to take next.
How long have I got to make a sepsis compensation claim?
To make a sepsis claim, you need to do so within three years of the date of your negligent treatment or from the date you discovered you received negligent care.
A claim can be made on behalf of a child at any time until the date of their 18th birthday. After this, they have three years from which to make their own sepsis claim.
If you’re claiming on behalf of someone without any mental capacity, no time limits apply.
Claims on behalf of a loved one who died as a result of sepsis must be made three years from the date of their negligent treatment or the date of their death.
That’s why it is essential that you do not hesitate when seeking legal advice in regards to sepsis negligence.
Useful sepsis resources
NHS Choices: Packed with information about sepsis, its symptoms and the recovery process; this is a useful resource if you want to know how the NHS deals with the infection.
Sepsis Trust: Established in 2012, this charity is committed to changing the way the NHS deals with Sepsis by increasing public awareness about the infection. It also raises funds to support people affected by the condition.
No win, no fee sepsis negligence claims solicitors
Personal insurance cover so there’s no financial risk to you when pursuing a sepsis claim
whatever the outcome of your sepsis case, you won’t have to pay a penny (provided that you fully assist us with your claim) other than an agreed percentage of your damages