By Stephanie Kennedy, Solicitor, Clinical Negligence
Today, 13 September 2019, marks the 8th World Sepsis Day.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis (also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning) is the body’s life-threatening reaction to an infection where it begins to damage its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multi-organ failure, amputation and death, especially when it is not diagnosed and treated early.
Anyone with an infection, for example meningitis, pneumonia or a urinary tract infection, can end up suffering from sepsis although certain people are at an increased risk including children over 1, adults over 60 and those with a weakened immune system. It is not yet known why Sepsis occurs, but approximately 27 to 30 million people every year are affected by it across the world.
The symptoms of Sepsis may include:
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain, fever
- Passing no urine all day
- Severe breathlessness
- It feels like you’re going to die
- Skin mottled or discoloured
Sepsis is an emergency and anyone who thinks they or someone they care for is showing signs of sepsis should call 999 or go to A&E immediately.
With early diagnosis, Sepsis is potentially reversible with antibiotics, but it is frequently missed and a failure to promptly diagnose and treat an infection which leads to Sepsis, or a failure to promptly diagnose and treat Sepsis itself, may result in a successful medical negligence claim.
Further advice and help regarding Sepsis can be found at The UK Sepsis Trust, a charity set up to give advice and help to members of the public affected by this condition.
Several of our offices here at Switalskis Solicitors will be raising money for charity in aid of World Sepsis Day.
Gary* had an operation to repair an injury to his thumb. Shortly after the surgery, he developed an infection but medical staff failed to spot this. As a result of the failure to recognise the signs of infection in time, Gary went on to develop sepsis and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. He had to undergo numerous operations and he suffered repeated infections and extreme pain over the following months, leading to the amputation of his forearm. Gary asked Switalskis Solicitors to investigate the claim. As a result of the investigation, Gary received £850,000 in compensation.
*Names have been changed
At Switalskis Solicitors our experienced Clinical Negligence team frequently work with clients and families who have suffered as a result of a delay in diagnosis of sepsis. If you would like to speak to a member of our team please contact us.