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Think Sepsis! NHS Launch Sepsis Awareness Strategy

By Principal Lawyer, Clinical and Medical Negligence

The NHS is launching a sepsis awareness campaign in an effort to educate people on the risks and symptoms of sepsis.

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Leaflets will be distributed in casualty departments, GP surgeries and maternity wards. Sepsis warnings will also be added to the 'red book' given to the parents of newborns.

Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “We need to get far better at spotting it across the NHS. By raising awareness and improving clinical practice, we will save lives in the fight against this horrible illness.”

Indeed, early diagnoses of sepsis and also toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can make a life-changing difference so it is imperative that everyone is aware of the signs.

If you suffer symptoms of sepsis or toxic shock syndrome and this is misdiagnosed at a hospital, you may be entitled to take legal action on the grounds of medical negligence.

 

Causes of Sepsis

Early diagnoses of sepsis and also toxic shock syndrome (TSS) can make a life-changing difference so it is imperative that everyone is aware of the signs.

The most commonly infected areas, which lead to sepsis, are the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen and pelvis. You’re more likely to develop sepsis if you’ve recently has surgery, had a urinary catheter and if you have a long stay in hospital. Sepsis is a particular risk for people already in hospital because of another serious illness.

For further information on sepsis and toxic shock syndrome, see our free, printable advice guide here

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, every year in the UK there are 150,000 cases of sepsis, and it is responsible for more than 44,000 deaths – more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined. Sepsis is one of the most common causes of death in intensive care units.

Earlier this year we highlighted the new guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, urging medical professionals to treat suspected sepsis with the same urgency as heart attacks. Experts believe that by treating more cases of sepsis early enough, between 5,000 and 13,000 cases could be avoided.

In November it was announced that hospitals will incur docked NHS funding if measures aren’t made to meet targets in tackling sepsis. For more information, see: Hospitals Face Penalty For Failing to Tackle Sepsis

I am pursuing a medical negligence claim on behalf of a three-year-old boy who had both his legs, below the knee, and most of his fingers amputated after doctors failed to spot the signs of toxic shock syndrome.

 

The Reuben Bear campaign advises people to remember and recognise the signs of TSS with four simple steps:

B for burn – Has the patient suffered recent burns or other injury?

E for Examine – Are there any signs of infection such as a fever, sore throat, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, aching muscles, dizziness or feeling faint?

A for Advice – Toxic Shock Syndrome and sepsis can be life-threatening so if you suspect someone is suffering from either seek medical advice immediately. 

R for Referral – Ask for a referral to a specialist burns unit if you are concerned about TSS.

For more information on Reuben’s case, and insights from Reuben’s mum, see: Toddler Has Legs And Fingers Amputated After Doctors Fail to Spot Signs of Toxic Shock Syndrome

Tim Deeming is a principal lawyer, specialising in clinical and medical negligence claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Cambridge.

For a free consultation about a clinical or medical negligence compensation claim call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we will call you.

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