Sepsis Claims FAQs

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:

  • Breathlessness
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhoea
  • Extreme chills and shivering
  • Extreme muscle pain
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling dizzy and faint
  • Fever
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Reduced urine production
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Mottled or discoloured skin
  • Slurred speech
  • Vomiting

However, when doctors are diagnosing Sepsis there are actually three main stages of the infection:

  1. Sepsis
  2. Severe sepsis
  3. Septic shock

‘Sepsis’ symptoms

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
  • Unconsciousness

‘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.

What are the 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:

  • Appendicitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Flu
  • Gallbladder infection
  • Meningitis
  • Peritonitis
  • Pneumonia
  • 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.

What is the 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.

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Our experts

Sue Jackson

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

Renu Daly

Solicitor, Clinical Negligence