Medical Negligence Claims: The Dangers of Sepsis
There can many underlying causes of medical negligence, one of the most common being that medical staff fail to spot a condition or problem in time or don’t diagnose it properly. A recent story in the news has highlighted the issue of sepsis, after a baby died just five days after it was born.
The child had problems from the moment he was delivered, including difficulty breathing, but the staff didn’t administer the appropriate medication and didn’t monitor his heartbeat during labour. There were a catalogue of errors that all pointed firmly to medical negligence. In this case it led to tragic consequences.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is quite a rare condition though it still claims 6 million lives around the globe each year, particularly in developing countries. It’s caused by the body’s response to an infection, where your immune system suddenly goes into overdrive. This can happen after something like a lung infection, a condition like appendicitis, a skin infection or an infection you’ve contracted because of an operation.
As long as the symptoms are spotted in time, the prognosis is generally good for someone who has sepsis and treatment is certainly available. Two things work against those with the condition, however. The first is noticing the symptoms in the first place and the second is the fact that, once it starts, it can progress quite rapidly.
The major signs of sepsis are:
- The patient is very lethargic and is difficult to rouse.
- Their skin looks mottled or pale or slightly blue.
- They are cold to touch and they are breathing very fast.
- They have had a convulsion or fit.
- They have a rash but when you press on it, it doesn’t fade.
Sepsis can affect anyone at any age and if you notice the above signs it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Within an hour of diagnosis, a medical team should initiate what is called the ‘sepsis six’ which involves giving the patient anti-biotics, intravenous fluids and oxygen if needed. The treatment you get will depend a lot on what infection caused the sepsis and how severe it is. In extreme cases, patients may be taken to ICU units where they can be monitored more carefully.
Of course, negligence of this type can have a huge and devastating impact on the people involved and the struggle to get all the right answers can be a huge challenge without the right legal advice and guidance as back up. No medical professional ignores the signs of sepsis willingly and it’s often a case of not being properly trained or being rushed for time, as many hospitals are nowadays.
At Forster Dean, we handle all types of medical negligence cases and understand that these can be traumatic times for those involved. Heading to get legal help probably isn’t the first thing on your mind if you are coping with everything else around you.
But talking to a solicitor is actually a good step in the right direction – we offer no win no fee services which means you can sit down and go through everything that has happened and get some clear advice from the outset. You’ll get an understanding lawyer who will let you go at your own speed and there won’t be any pressure put on you to take things further.