Sepsis is an attack of bacteria into the bloodstream and it is also known as blood poisoning or septicaemia. Although sepsis is rare, it can have serious implications without swift treatment. The severity of sepsis can result in multiple organ failure if it goes undiagnosed and untreated quickly. According to the NHS website, “There are around 123,000 cases of sepsis a year in England. Around 37,000 people die every year as a result of the condition. Anyone can develop sepsis after an injury or minor infection, although some people are more vulnerable.”
Sepsis can effect both children and adults. General symptoms in children under 5 can include being very lethargic, difficult to wake, bluish or pale, abnormally cold to touch, breathing very fast; and a rash that does not fade when you press it, and/or having a fit or convulsion. If the above symptoms are apparent then seek medical assistance by going to A and E or calling 999. If a child is becoming increasingly unwell and has a high or low temperature then this is also something to be mindful of.
Sepsis in older children and adults can involve a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature, a fast heartbeat, fast breath, chills and shivering. There are other symptoms that may be experienced with more severe sepsis (also known as sepsis shock) such as feeling dizzy or faint, diarrhoea, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, severe breathlessness , cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin, severe muscle pain and even loss of consciousness. If suspicions of sepsis arise then urgent medical attention is required by going to hospital for additional diagnoses and treatment.
If you have had an injury or an infection recently then is is important to seek medical advice urgently from NHS 111 as you may have early signs of sepsis. However, in severe sepsis and septic shock circumstances, these are medical emergencies and urgent medical attention is required by going straight to A&E or calling 999.
Simple measurement of temperature, heart rate and breathing rate can help diagnose cases of Sepsis. Blood tests, urine or stool samples, respiratory secretion testing (taking a sample of phlegm, saliva, or mucus) , a wound culture (sample of tissue, fluid, skin taken from affected area), blood pressure tests or imaging studies (eg X-ray, ultrasound scan, CT scan) can also help establish the type of infection, the location of the infection and which body functions have been affected.
Antibiotics can be used to treat the infection if sepsis is detected early, where vital organs have not yet been affected. Generally, most people treated at this stage make a full recovery.
In the emotional story line in Coronation Street, Kevin Websters’ son, 7-year-old Jack (Kyran Bowes) was diagnosed with sepsis. Viewers will have seen the doctors explained to Kevin that Jack is not responding to antibiotics as they anticipated and Jack is left in the intensive care unit fighting for his life.
Charlotte Measures, Senior Associate at Medical Accident Group said, “This particular story line helps to really highlight the importance of being vigilant in order to spot early signs of concerns relating to sepsis. We see Jack was initially rushed to the medical centre where he was diagnosed with a viral infection and Sophie is advised that recovery at home is the best option for him. However, we later see Jack is groaning and really drowsy, coupled with spotting discolouration on his fingers and toes. The deterioration of Jack’s health was noticed and an ambulance was called. Symptoms such as the above require urgent medical care and should not be ignored.”
As an experienced local Firm, we have managed to successfully claim compensation for families, who have directly/indirectly suffered a loss due to the negligent treatment relating to a failure or delay to treat of sepsis. We are also keen supporters of the charity UK Sepsis Trust (@UKSepsisTrust) who work timelessly to raise awareness of Sepsis and its symptoms, and encourage the public to ask ‘could it be sepsis?’ as a means of encouraging early diagnosis.
If you have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors, with over 30 years’ experience, who will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim, call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org