Sepsis negligence claims
Sepsis negligence compensation claims
- If sepsis isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly, the consequences can be severe
- If you have experienced delayed treatment or diagnosis, then you may be able to claim compensation
What is sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection causes inflammation throughout the body. It can lead to organ failure and death if not treated promptly. Symptoms include fever, rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing.
What is sepsis negligence?
Sepsis negligence refers to a failure by healthcare providers to recognise and treat sepsis in a timely and appropriate manner, resulting in harm or death to the patient. This can include delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment, or failure to follow established protocols for sepsis management.
What is a sepsis negligence claim?
A sepsis negligence claim is a legal action taken against a healthcare provider or facility for failing to properly diagnose or treat sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by an infection. The claim seeks compensation for damages resulting from the provider’s negligence.
What are the early signs of sepsis?
Negligence can easily occur when the symptoms are not recognised by medical professionals, and if not treated quickly the consequences can be organ failure, limb loss, or even death. The early signs of a sepsis can include:
- Fever and chills
- Very low body temperature
- Urinating less than normal
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
What are the causes of sepsis?
The majority of sepsis cases are due to bacterial infections, but they can also take place due to fungal infections. Infectious agents, such as bacteria begin infecting almost any organ location or implanted device. The infecting agents or their toxins then spread into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, they are able to spread to almost any other organ system.
Some individuals are at an increased risk of sepsis, including:
- The young and the elderly
- Individuals who are extremely ill due to an infection
- Individuals in intensive care
- Individuals with weak or compromised immune systems
- Individuals with devices such as IV catheters, breathing tubes, or other devices
- Individuals with extensive burns
- Individuals with severe trauma
How is sepsis diagnosed?
The adult patient should have a proven or suspected source of an infection (usually bacterial) and have at least two of the following problems to be diagnosed as having sepsis:
- Altered mental status (for example, altered consciousness, mental confusion or delirium)
- Fast respiratory rate (> 22 breaths/minute)
- Low blood pressure(≤ 100 mm Hg systolic)
However, patients may have many other signs and symptoms that can occur with sepsis, such as
- Elevated heart rate (tachycardia)
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- A reduced carbon dioxide (PaCO2) level in the blood
- Facial flushing
- Shortness of breath
- Low urine production
- Skin discoloration
- Dysfunction of one or more organs
- Shock, and
In most cases, the definitive diagnosis of sepsis is made by a physician in conjunction with laboratory tests.
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What is septic shock?
Septic shock is a condition whereby an infection causes a dangerous drop in systolic blood pressure. As well as low blood pressure, individuals may also experience dizziness or light-headedness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, behavioural changes, and low or high body temperature.
How do you treat sepsis?
The majority of sepsis cases require patients to be hospitalised and treated with the appropriate medication, included intravenous antibiotics. They will also require therapy to support the dysfunction of organs. There is no time for delay in sepsis cases, as the risk of mortality can increase the longer the individual is not prescribed the correct antibiotics.
In addition to antibiotics, two other major therapeutic interventions, organ-system support and surgery, may be needed. In extreme cases, amputation is sometimes required to save a patient’s life.
Sepsis can develop both in hospital and in patients being treated at home. If diagnosed at home, an immediate referral to A&E is likely to be necessary. Almost all patients diagnosed with sepsis are treated in the hospital; Critical care medicine physicians, and pulmonary specialists, infectious disease specialists, and occasionally a toxicologist or a surgeon may need to be consulted, depending upon the patient’s condition and underlying medical cause of the sepsis.
What is the prognosis for patients with sepsis?
The prognosis of sepsis patients relates to the severity and stage of sepsis, alongside the underlying health status of the individual. There are a huge number of complications that can occur with sepsis. In general, the complications are due to organ dysfunction, damage, or loss. Death can occur when multi-organ dysfunction takes place.
Physicians agree that the faster the patient with sepsis is diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis and fewer complications, if any, for the patient.
How can the risk of sepsis be reduced?
The risk factors associated with sepsis can be reduced by several methods. One of the most effective ways is to prevent any infections from occurring in the first place, with methods such as good hygiene, vaccines and avoidance of sources of infection. Immediate treatment of infection, should it occur, also works effectively as it does not give the infection a chance to spread into the blood. This method is particularly important in individuals who are at a higher risk of infection, including the elderly, people with diabetes or cancer, and people with suppressed immune systems.
What are the consequences of sepsis?
The consequences of sepsis can range from surgery, amputations, or even death. Sepsis can cause a long-term disability for a person if left untreated or unnoticed and the long-term support required will vary from case to case.
Do you have a sepsis negligence compensation claim?
If you or someone you know has suffered from sepsis where there may have been a delay in treatment and diagnosis, then you may have a claim for compensation. You or your family should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. The sooner we can begin work on your claim the sooner we can begin to help you.
We have a wide range of contacts with organisations who can help you and can work closely with you. These include:
- Case managers who will assess and organise any support and care you may need;
- Support workers who will visit you on a regular basis to provide you support and help;
- Community rehabilitation such as occupational therapy.
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Moore Barlow has a highly impressive track record in complex clinical negligence litigation. It advises clients from offices based in Guildford, Richmond, Southampton and Woking. The team regularly undertakes challenging cases, including cerebral palsy, neurological injuries and undiagnosed infections, and it has an especially strong reputation for fatal cases. The team also has deep expertise in cauda equina, encephalitis and assistance on ophthalmic cases. It represents clients in surgical negligence cases and delay in diagnosis claims.
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