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Failure to identify and treat sepsis (septicaemia)

The UK Sepsis Trust confirms that there are more than 250,000 cases of sepsis in the UK each year and that sepsis kills more people in the UK each year than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined.  The Trust advocates that with better awareness, more than 14,000 deaths and many more permanent life-changing injuries in the UK would be avoided each year – key components being earlier recognition and treatment.

The elderly, children and those who are already unwell or undergoing surgical procedures are particularly vulnerable to sepsis. We have acted for many families where sepsis has occurred in the early neonatal period following delivery of their child, causing brain damage.

In 2016 NICE produced new guidelines regarding the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis and over the last few years the government has supported an awareness campaign to help reduce the incidence of sepsis by identifying the illness as early as possible.

Symptoms of sepsis

Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose given the differing symptoms which may be linked to the condition. For this reason it’s important that health professionals are always alert to the possibility of a sepsis diagnosis which, if overlooked, can change lives permanently.

Symptoms can include those similar to the common cold or flu such as a high or low temperature, chills, breathlessness, confusion and a fast heartbeat.

Your medical team should be on high alert to “Think Sepsis” whenever there is concern and follow the “Sepsis 6” protocol which is to provide oxygen, fluids, antimicrobials, take blood cultures, check the blood count and assess urine output within 1 hour of diagnosis.  Failure to do so may amount to negligent care.

Why bring a claim

Early treatment can significantly reduce the risk of death and complications.  If you have lost a loved one or suffered long-term injury due to sepsis that was not diagnosed or treated swiftly then you may be able to pursue a claim for damages.

Damages will provide financial support for you or your family through a difficult period of time. Where you have long-term health issues, compensation helps you reach the best recovery possible and provides support for you in the future.

How we can help

We have developed a specialist meningitis and sepsis team who have successfully acted for many families who have been through the same as you. We will ensure we achieve the best outcome for you and your family irrespective of the complications that have arisen. Using our experience we can carefully review the sequence of events and your medical records to advise further on pursuing a claim for damages on your behalf.

LIFE CHANGING STORY

Oliver’s story: Untreated sepsis
Frequently asked questions
How long will my claim take?

All claims are different and this depends upon when a final prognosis is known and a claim can be valued.

Once we obtain an admission of liability in your case we can request an immediate payment to help with your needs and put support in place.

What will the first steps be?

We will discuss your circumstances at a time and place to suit you – in person, at your home or on the telephone. We can request your medical records at the outset free of charge.  Once we have reviewed your records we can advise you further and appoint suitable experts to provide their opinion on your potential claim.

Will I have to go to court?

Medical negligence claims rarely go to court, with only a small percentage of the more complex cases ending up there. However, in the unlikely event that your case reaches court, we will be by your side throughout the process.

 

When will be damages be paid?

As soon as we possibly can, we will obtain an early payment for you to support any immediate financial needs you have.  This can help you obtain care, therapy, accommodation and rehabilitation. The sooner you investigate a potential claim the sooner an early payment can be made if you are successful.

 

What can I claim for?

The aim of compensation is to put you in the financial position you would have been in had it not been for the injury/negligence in question. We recognise that this is sometimes impossible, but we can work with you and the best experts to ensure all your needs are assessed and costed to help you transform your life for the better, and to give you financial security for the future. 

 

How much is my claim worth?

It is difficult to advise upon the value of your claim at the outset given the complexity of the issues involved.  However, if you have sustained a life changing injury then damages are likely to be substantial.  Once the correct expert evidence is obtained and when a final prognosis is known we can advise you further.  Our role is to maximise the compensation you receive and we specialise in doing so.

Are there any time limits to pursue a claim?

It is important to pursue your claim as quickly as possible due to time limits and to also enable us to help you obtain compensation as soon as possible. This is especially the case in complex cases as the process can be lengthy.

You have to start your claim within 3-years (limitation period) from when the injury occurred or when you first became aware of any potential negligence or injury as a result.  However, the time limit only begins when a child reaches 18 years of age.

For someone who lacks capacity to pursue any litigation, the 3-year time period may never start to run although capacity can return or be intermittent.

You should always seek legal advice upon the relevant limitation period in your circumstances.

 

Will my claim be reported in the press?

We will always respect your right to privacy wherever possible.  Sometimes, clients want details of any settlement to be made public or there may be publicity surrounding the case in certain circumstances.  If this occurs we can support you in managing any contact with the media to ensure you are in control of any publicity that occurs.

 

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