News & Events
Sepsis Claims on the Rise Due to Health Care Negligence and Antibiotic Resistance
- April 26, 2019
- Posted by: curtislegalwp
- Category: blog
Compensation claims by those who have suffered from severe sepsis or septic shock in a hospital and have survived are on the rise. A quarter of patients who develop severe sepsis or septic shock die. Their loved ones are entitled to claim compensation from the NHS or other health care providers if it is proved that a lack of care was responsible for the deaths.
The increase in incidence rate of sepsis appears to be due to both a change in antibiotic resistance, making infections harder to treat, and cuts in NHS health care which puts greater stress on nurses and other health professionals working on the front line. 44,000 people now die from sepsis every year in the U.K. and many who survive have organ damage that severely restricts their life experience and ability to return to work.
Sepsis is an unbalanced response to an infection
Sepsis is not a new illness, but is generally not well known by anyone not connected to the medical system. It is an unbalanced response by a person’s own immune system to an infection that has spread throughout the bloodstream from its original entry point. When the infecting bacteria spread throughout the bloodstream, some people’s immune systems go into overdrive, releasing anti bacterial chemicals in such large amounts that it causes massive inflammation everywhere. This has a negative effect on the person’s tissues and organs. When the level of sepsis reaches a point when the person’s blood pressure becomes dramatically lowered, the person is said to be in septic shock and is in serious danger of dying.
Sepsis cannot occur unless there is an infection that is not detected or allowed to spread because the bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics used. The fact that many bacteria are now resistant to an increasing number of commonly used antibiotics makes it easier for infections to spread into the body from the original source of infection.
The signs of infection and sepsis response are sometimes confused with other illnesses, but health professionals are trained to detect their early signs. Health professionals are aware of the possible symptoms of sepsis, should have checked for sepsis when a person is first admitted into a hospital and are also aware of the risk factors that make sepsis more prevalent.
Typical risk factors are:
- age – older people as well as young people are more at risk;
- those with a weakened immune system;
- cancer patients;
- anyone with diabetes.
Sepsis can be treated if detected early enough. The infection which triggered the response must be dealt with first and foremost. This is usually done by an IV drip with antibiotics. The treatment for the sepsis itself depends on the stage to which it has got. Symptoms in the early stages which should set off alarm bells are:
- too high or too low a body temperature;
- faster than normal breathing;
- lower than normal blood pressure;
- fainting and / or vomiting;
- skin discolouration, paleness, clammy skin, cyanosis (when the skin starts to appear blue, especially the lips).
Claims for sepsis survivors and their families
Because the risk factors are known, the symptoms are known and infections can be treated before they spread, anyone who develops sepsis in a public or private hospital may have done so because there has been a failure to detect the signs, or respond early enough.
Those who survive sepsis and the families of those who die are entitled to claim compensation if negligence has been a major factor in their illness. Sepsis can leave survivors and the families of those who have died from the illness seriously financially disadvantaged. A sepsis claim can help to compensate for this financial loss.