Medical Negligence: Sepsis Negligence and How to Claim

With severe medical conditions, it’s important to be properly and timely diagnosed for a higher chance of a full recovery. Medical negligence relating to failure of diagnosing or properly treating sepsis can seriously affect your life and your family. With potential long-lasting effects, you may be able to make a claim if you or a loved one suffered sepsis negligence.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a severe medical emergency that must be treated as soon as possible. If untreated, it can cause organ failure, tissue damage, and even death. Also known as septicaemia, this blood poisoning condition causes your immune system to work in overdrive.

There are three main stages to this illness, being sepsis, severe sepsis, and lastly septic shock. Flu, appendicitis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, peritonitis, post-surgical infection, or pneumonia, amongst other infections, can cause sepsis.

Common Symptoms

In addition to the following main symptoms, sepsis can also be confused with the flu due to fever, chills, shaking, low body temperature and blood pressure, warm skin, and rapid heartbeat.

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Muscle pain or shivering
  • Passing no urine within a day
  • Having severe breathlessness
  • Skin is mottled or shows discolouration

Receiving treatment for sepsis will vary according to how advanced the condition is. The ‘Sepsis Six’ treatments are: administering oxygen, testing the blood for infection, giving antibiotics, giving fluids intravenously, measuring both the haemoglobin and the lactic acid in the blood, and measuring urine output.

Duty of care includes you being tested through blood samples and blood cultures (to know what type of bacteria is causing sepsis). Antibiotics are the main treatment option, especially if sepsis is diagnosed early. Oxygen and intravenous fluids may also be needed.

Examples of Sepsis Negligence

  • Inadequate treatment of sepsis
  • Failure to recognise sepsis symptoms
  • Failure to consider immune system status and clinical history
  • Delayed sepsis diagnosis
  • Failure of urgent treatment of sepsis

You have up to three years from the date of the negligent treatment or the date from negligent care being discovered to make a claim. If a child or a minor suffered from sepsis negligence, a claim can be made up until their 18th birthday at any time. From this date, they will have three years to make a claim.

If a claim is made on behalf of someone with severely reduced mental capacity, there are no limits applied. Making a claim in regards to a loved one who has passed away has a three year limit from either the date of the negligent treatment or the date of death.

The Process of Making a Claim

Receiving independent and professional information about your case is important to establish if a breach of care and duty led to a sepsis condition. The steps needed to make a claim may vary according to individual case, however, keeping allo medical records and evidence is vital.

  1. Obtain and collect medical records.
  2. Provide a statement with your version of events.
  3. Establish the breach of duty and its effect.
  4. Providing evidence of your financial loss.
  5. Analysing your evidence and attending trial to receive compensation.

Sepsis can lead to you or a family member needing amputation to prevent the infection from spreading, needing dialysis, suffer from depressions and anxiety, needing heart medication, or other drastic changes to health and normal daily life.

Making a claim can help to cover these expenses and future financial needs, particularly if sepsis resulted in a loved one passing away.