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Sepsis and Medical Negligence Claims


Author: Sara Westwood

Accidents and Injuries, Clinical Negligence

Sepsis and Medical Negligence Legal Claims

Sepsis and Medical Negligence Legal Claims

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury that starts to damage the body’s own tissues and organs.

If not treated immediately, it can result in organ failure and in the very worst cases, can cause death.


Sepsis can be hard to spot; it is vital that if you or someone you are caring for has symptoms, you call 999 or visit your nearest A&E immediately. Symptoms include:

  • Pale, blue or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak, high-pitched cry (baby/young child)
  • Not responding or interested in normal activities
  • Sleepy or difficult to wake
  • Confused/slurred speech

Identifying and treating sepsis

It is estimated that 11 million people a year are dying from sepsis (one in five deaths around the world). A report earlier this year showed that there are around 48,000 deaths from sepsis in the UK a year and, as a result, there was a big push within the health service to identify the signs and start treatment quicker.

Treatment for sepsis is by antibiotics and these need to be administered immediately, as failure to act quickly can cause septic shock and organs to fail; in the worst cases it can cause death.

Making a claim

Unfortunately, there are cases where sepsis goes undetected and it becomes too late to treat. Legal claims can arise where there has been a delay in diagnosing sepsis, which can have catastrophic consequences.

For many the consequences of a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis can be fatal; for others it may result in amputation or brain injury.

Sara Westwood has recently settled a case where Accident and Emergency staff wrongly discharged a patient who had sepsis, despite the results of blood tests showing clear signs of infection. She was readmitted the following day by ambulance by which time it was too late to successfully treat her and she sadly died.

If you or a loved one has been affected by sepsis and you think you may have a medical negligence legal claim, please contact our team on info@hatchbrenner.co.uk or call 01603 660 811.


The Lancet

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