On World Sepsis Day, we look at what sepsis is, how to spot it and how to treat it. We also consider sepsis and medical negligence.
What is Sepsis
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, which is usually caused by an infection within in the body. If your body is unable to fight the infection, this can lead to organs not being able to function properly. Sepsis is a serious condition, which can turn to septic shock if it is not treated. If left untreated it can damage the lungs, kidneys, liver, and other organs. It is reported that approximately 48,000 deaths are attributed to sepsis each year and 25% of these deaths could have been prevented with a fast diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Signs of Sepsis
Signs of sepsis include:
- Fever or low body temperature
- Rapid heartbeat
- Skin rash, or mottled skin
- Warm skin
- Slurred speech
How to treat Sepsis
Due to how quickly your body can deteriorate when suffering with sepsis, or septic shock, it is extremely important to get medical treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for sepsis would be IV antibiotics and this treatment should start within an hour of being diagnosed. Treatment can also include intravenous fluids and vasopressors, to help increase blood pressure.
Sepsis and medical negligence
Recently, Partner and Head of our Medical Negligence department, Oliver Thorne has been involved in a two-week inquest into the death of Maddy Lawrence. Maddy suffered a hip dislocation whilst playing rugby for her university. Whilst in hospital there was a failure to recognise the early warning signs of sepsis, which contributed to her tragic death.
On World Sepsis Day, Oliver commented:
“We come across delays in diagnosing sepsis too often and sadly this can have a devastating outcome as was the case for Maddy and her family.”
For further guidance on sepsis and medical negligence contact our free legal helpline by phone or email.