NHS 24 Misses Sepsis Case

A man with blood poisoning was misdiagnosed by call handlers on Scotland's NHS hotline, NHS 24, leading to his death.

Staff at the hotline failed to properly identify John Wilcock's symptoms, wrongly recorded the details of his calls, and at one stage simply told him to take the heartburn remedy Gaviscon. A sheriff's inquest found that the case featured 'a number of concerns and shortcomings', and recommended changes in the phone service.

Michelmores' Kevin Finneran, a Medical Negligence solicitor with a particular interest in blood poisoning cases, feels that there will be extensive ramifications from the death of Wilcock.

'This case also provides an uneasy perspective on the issues surrounding the new NHS 111 service in England, which has been accused of disorganisation and ineffectiveness,' he says. 'As Wilcock's case demonstrates, fatalities as a consequence of advice-line failures are very much a reality; we expect the Sheriff's recommendations to be heeded and applied.'

As defined by the NHS, the symptoms of sepsis include fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, often accompanied by an increased heartbeat and delirium. Sepsis is classified as a medical emergency, and anybody who suspects that they are suffering from the condition should seek medical advice.

You can read the BBC article, which includes a link to the verdict in the Sheriff's inquest, here.

Michelmores' Clinical Negligence team are specialists in misdiagnosis claims and inquests. If you would like to discuss a compensation claim with our expert lawyers, you can call us free on 0800 0730140 for discreet, impartial advice.