Sepsis Medical Negligence Claims
Do you have a sepsis claim? Call our personal injury solicitors to discuss your case
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Mooneerams specialist clinical negligence solicitor partner can help you to claim compensation if you have suffered physically or mentally because of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of Sepsis by medical professionals.
Call Mooneerams Solicitors on 029 2048 3615 and talk to one of our legal experts if you believe you may have grounds for making a sepsis negligence claim.
Sepsis is a disease many have never heard of. Still, according to information provided by the UK Sepsis Trust charity, it kills five people in the UK every hour: that’s over 43,500 people annually. Sepsis is more common than heart attacks and causes more deaths than bowel, breast and pancreatic cancer taken together.
There are at least 245,000 sepsis cases every year in the UK. Of those who survive the condition, more than 26,500 suffer life-changing disabilities such as amputations and organ failure.
Sepsis is all the more dangerous because, despite its prevalence, few people know much about the illness, let alone recognise its symptoms. In addition, GPs often fail to diagnose it fast enough.
The NHS estimates that 10,000 deaths from Sepsis are wholly preventable and only happen because of failure by health professionals to detect and treat symptoms of the illness in its early stages.
Sepsis, or bacterial blood poisoning, occurs when the body is forced to fight a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream.
The body’s chemicals, released into the blood to fight the infection, cause widespread inflammation. Not only can this chain of events lead to blood clots and leaky blood vessels, but it can also result in poor blood flow to vital organs, causing them to be deprived of oxygen and other nutrients and eventually failing.
If Sepsis is not treated quickly enough, the person may die.
Medical professionals may fail to recognise and treat / refer regarding Sepsis. Alternatively, the condition may be caused by poor hospital care. In either case, you may be able to claim compensation for clinical negligence.
Sepsis can affect children and adults.
Symptoms in children under five years
If a child under five years has any of the following symptoms, then according to the NHS website, they should be taken straight to A&E, if the youngster:
- looks mottled, bluish or pale
- is very lethargic or difficult to wake
- feels abnormally cold to touch
- is breathing very fast
- has a rash that does not fade when you press it
- has a fit or convulsion
Symptoms in older children and adults
Sepsis symptoms in older children and adults may develop in two stages, with the second stage known as ‘septic shock’.
According to the NHS, if you or your child have had an infection or an injury and have any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately:
Stage 1 Sepsis
- a high temperature (fever) or low body temperature
- chills and shivering
- a fast heartbeat
- fast breathing
Sometimes, if left untreated, the initial symptoms can develop into what is known as ‘septic shock’. Septic shock occurs when your blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels.
Stage 2 Sepsis (or Septic shock)
The symptoms of Septic shock include:
- feeling dizzy or faint
- a change in mental state – such as confusion or disorientation
- nausea and vomiting
- slurred speech
- severe muscle pain
- severe breathlessness
- less urine production than usual – for example, not urinating for a day
- cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
- loss of consciousness
Many of these symptoms are similar to those of a person with the flu. Therefore, doctors sometimes fail to diagnose Sepsis until it is too late, potentially leading to permanent injury or even death.
Those most at risk of developing Sepsis include:
- newborns and pregnant women
- elderly adults
- people with weakened immune systems; e.g. for example, those with HIV or rheumatic diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
Other factors that can leave people at risk of developing septic shock include:
- having a major operation
- a lengthy stay in hospital
- poverty or poor nutrition
- exposure to devices like intravenous catheters, urinary catheters, or breathing tubes, which can introduce bacteria into the body
Septic shock can cause several complications, including:
- heart failure
- abnormal blood clotting
- kidney failure
- respiratory failure
- liver failure
- removal of a section of the bowel
- multiple organ failure
The severity of these complications will depend on many factors, including the patient’s age, any pre-existing health conditions, the cause and origin of Sepsis within the body and how soon treatment was given.
According to the NHS, the management of Sepsis involves three tests and treatments.
These are known as the ‘sepsis six’:
- taking blood cultures – to discover what bacteria is causing the Sepsis
- taking a blood sample – to determine how severe the case is
- monitoring your urine output – to assess severity and kidney function
- administering antibiotics
- providing fluid intravenously
- giving oxygen
This course of action should be administered within an hour of a diagnosis of Sepsis.
If adequate treatment for Sepsis has not been given, or Sepsis was misdiagnosed or went undiagnosed, you could suffer physical or mental damage. When this happens, you could claim compensation from the GP, NHS Trust or private clinic responsible for your care.
As already outlined, even if you recover from Sepsis, you might be left with long-term complications that leave you with physical and mental symptoms, including:
- Memory loss
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Muscle and joint pain
- Multiple organ failures
- Amputation of limbs
- In severe cases, death
For a sepsis medical negligence claim to succeed, your condition must have been made worse due to the medical professional’s negligence. It is not enough to prove the medics were negligent if that negligence hadn’t caused more pain, suffering and loss of amenity than you would have suffered if there had not been any negligence on the part of the clinicians.
The first step towards claiming compensation for Sepsis is to contact an experienced medical negligence solicitor who can both advise and represent you.
At Mooneerams, we can help you navigate the complexities of a sepsis claim, and we’ll keep you informed at every step.
Call Mooneerams on 029 2048 3615.
One of our sepsis negligence lawyer partners will listen whilst you explain what has happened. Based on what you tell them, they’ll then advise you whether you may have reasonable prospects of pursuing a successful claim for sepsis compensation.
This initial telephone consultation will be entirely free and without any obligation on your part to take the matter further.
If after carrying out some initial investigations, our sepsis negligence partner believes that your claim has reasonable prospects of success, then in most cases, we will usually be able offer to handle your sepsis claim on a No Win No Fee basis.
General Damages is the term for the compensation you will get for the pain, suffering and loss of amenity you go through as a result of clinical negligence. The claim for loss of amenity tells you that part of your claim for general damages will be to compensate you for the effect the injuries suffered have and will, in the future, affect your way of life.
Many people think of ‘injury compensation’ as the only item of a claim in sepsis negligence claims, but it’s not.
The other type of damages claim is for Special Damages.
Special Damages is compensation for any past or future financial loss that can be worked out by use of a mathematical calculation. Special damages in sepsis claims may include some or all of the following ( and maybe items not mentioned here):
- Loss of earnings
- Travel expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Past care costs (already paid for or owing) and estimated costs of future care
- Provision of aids and other specialist equipment
- Cost of reasonably incurred private medical treatment
- Purchase of a car or another form of transport
- Cost of prosthetics and orthotics ( where limb amputation has been necessary)
- Pension loss
- Future costs of home maintenance and gardening
Fatal damages may be applicable if a person has died as a result of sepsis, leaving behind a partner and/or minor children.
Our specialist sepsis negligence claims solicitor partner will discuss your needs with you and put together your claim for special damages accordingly.
Generally, you have three years in which to file a claim, from the date of a diagnosis of Sepsis or from when you realise the illness or medical problems you are suffering from were caused by Sepsis.
When claiming on behalf of a child, you (as their ‘litigation friend’) have until their 18th birthday to start a claim on their behalf.
If no claim has previously been brought on the child’s behalf, then between their 18th and 21st birthday, the child may start their own claim.
For persons with a disability, i.e., individuals lacking mental capacity, the three-year period for starting a claim does not start to run unless or until they regain mental capacity.
In a fatal claim the 3 years will generally run from the date of death, provided that death was within 3 years of the initial negligence or date of knowledge.
It is always advisable to start your sepsis claim as soon as possible not only to avoid the dangers associated with missing time limits but because your claim has a better chance of success when everything you have gone through is still fresh in your mind and you can give your solicitor and the medical professionals who will assist you with your claim, the fullest and best evidence to support your case.
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