It is estimated that 37,000 people die as a result of sepsis each year, many in hospital, and that failure to diagnose and treat the condition quickly may contribute significantly to this statistic.
There are more admissions to hospital for sepsis than for heart attacks; sepsis also has a higher mortality rate. Rapid diagnosis and treatment are essential, but the symptoms of the condition are sometimes missed by medical professionals.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a reaction of the body's immune system to infection. In severe cases this can lead to serious swelling, circulatory issues and organ failure. Eventually, a sepsis sufferer may go into septic shock, where blood pressure drops dramatically. Particularly where there has been a late diagnosis, or none at all, the condition can result in limb amputation or death.
A common cause of sepsis is bacteria entering the body, often through surgical wounds, or other broken skin such as ulcers or blisters. Chest or urinary infections may also develop into sepsis. Those who are already unwell or staying in hospital are particularly vulnerable.
Sepsis is a serious condition which can kill in days, and is classified as a medical emergency. Anybody who suspects that they are suffering from the condition should seek medical advice.
Making an Infection Claim
Although sepsis and other infections are considered difficult conditions to diagnose, there are a number of warning signs which should lead clinical professionals to consider infection as the source of the problem. Clinical guidelines on sepsis, if followed, reduce the risk to patients.
For example, where an injury is causing a disproportionate amount of pain and is extremely tender, accompanied by extensive bruising or blisters and a high temperature, a doctor or consultant may be expected to make a referral to investigate infection.
Early diagnosis is crucial, and treatment for advanced sepsis or other infection can be drastic. Many of the effects of sepsis can be permanent. Where a patient has shown symptoms of infection but not been diagnosed or referred for treatment, or where treatment was delayed or improperly applied, they may be able to make a claim for the damage they or their families have suffered. Because the harm caused by infection can be anything from anxiety to chronic pain or death, there are many different levels of compensation.
Meningitis is a form of sepsis in which the lining of the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, with potentially life-threatening consequences. Meningitis must be dealt with quickly to avoid catastrophic injury; in many cases, a simple penicillin injection could make a significant difference.