It’s essential that sepsis, also known as septicaemia, is diagnosed within a few hours and treated immediately. Failure to do so can lead to lasting multi-organ failure and can even be fatal. If you or a loved one suffered as a result of medical negligence, Slater and Gordon’s specialist legal experts can help you get the compensation you deserve.
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What is sepsis?
Sepsis, also known as blood poisoning and septicaemia, is an infection which, according to , affects around 250,000 people each year and causes 52,000 deaths, approximately 14,000 of which are probably preventable. It occurs when the body responds to an infection and the immune system overacts, which can cause inflammation in many parts of the body and damages organs and tissues.
If not diagnosed and treated quickly, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and can even be fatal. If mistakes during diagnosis have been made which has led to the sepsis getting much worse, you may be entitled to for medical negligence.
Who is most likely to be at risk of sepsis?
Anyone can get sepsis. However those most at risk include:
- People with a weakened immune system
- People with a serious illness
- Very young children
- Elderly people
- People who have just had surgery or who have injured themselves
What are the common signs of sepsis?
There are several signs which may indicate you have sepsis. These include:
- Slurred speech - you may also feel dizzy, faint, confused, or disorientated
- Extreme shivering - you may have a fever and chills or feel cold and clammy
- Pain of your muscles - you may feel like you have flu
- Severe breathlessness - you may feel like you have a chest infection
- It feels like gastroenteritis - you may suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
- Skin discolouration - your skin may be pale, bluish, mottled or you may have a rash that doesn't fade when you press it
Whatever your symptoms, it's important that you seek medical attention immediately.
How does sepsis become a medical negligence claim?
In cases of sepsis, it’s extremely important to act fast. The UK Sepsis Trust states that patients have a dramatically increased rate of survival, around 80% if it’s diagnosed correctly and treated within an hour of the first symptoms being detected. Therefore, if there are delays in diagnosing and treating sepsis, you may be entitled to compensation.
Mistakes which have led to a medical negligence claim include:
- Misdiagnosis: Where your GP or specialist doctor believed you had a different condition and began treating it, leaving the sepsis to worsen.
- Delays in diagnosis: Where it took a long time to diagnose sepsis - you may have been kept waiting in a hospital or other medical facility.
- Test mistakes: Where the proper tests to diagnose sepsis weren’t carried out.
- Medication mistakes: You were given the wrong medication for sepsis, so treatment wasn’t as effective as it should have been.
Can I claim for a loved one who passed away as a result of sepsis?
If a medical professional was negligent in misdiagnosing or delaying diagnosing sepsis which has led to the death of a loved one, you may be entitled to claim sepsis compensation.
How much time do I have to make a sepsis claim?
If you believe you have a claim, it’s important that you seek advice from a solicitor who specialises in medical negligence cases as soon as possible, as there are time limits in place in England, Scotland and Wales.
Generally, a sepsis claim should be made within three years from the date you or a loved one suffered as a result of medical negligence. However, there may be exceptions.
Meet the medical negligence experts
Meet our specialist medical negligence team, many of which are considered 'Leaders in their field' with a significant amount of expertise.
Sepsis Compensation Claims at Slater and Gordon
Helen Lewis, Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon and Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of UK Sepsis Trust, discuss what sepsis is, how to spot the signs and knowing when negligence has occurred.
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