Specialist sepsis solicitor, David Gazzard, has investigated many claims for compensation on behalf of clients who have developed sepsis whilst undergoing medical treatment or where there has been a failure to diagnose sepsis promptly or to treat it appropriately. He understands the absolutely devastating effect it can have, not just on the patient, but also upon their family.
“David’s tenacity in getting to the bottom of the failings in my husband’s care was amazing. He let nothing stand in his way and we soon had the answers we needed.” RC, August 2018
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition, where the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. Sepsis is sometimes referred to as ‘blood poisoning’. People with sepsis will very likely have low blood pressure resulting in poor circulation and a lack of blood perfusion to vital tissues and organs. When this happens, the patient has developed ‘septic shock’ which can lead to multi-organ failure and death.
Sepsis is a huge problem, responsible for over 40,000 deaths a year in the UK alone. It can be caused by a huge variety of common bugs, many of which are usually harmless. Sometimes, however, the body responds abnormally to a bug and this can result in sepsis.
“David Gazzard supported my family and I through a very difficult time. David is not only a first rate solicitor but if my own experience was anything to go by, he has huge empathy for his clients. I would strongly recommend him.” AJ, April 2017
Symptoms of Sepsis
It should be remembered that, if caught early, sepsis is very treatable, possibly with just a course of antibiotics at home. The early symptoms can be remarkably mild. As a result, it is particularly important to be aware of the symptoms of sepsis as they may easily be confused with other conditions.
Certainly, you should seek urgent medical attention if you have:
- rapid breathing
- rapid heart rate
- fever or shivering
- not passing urine
- skin discolouration
- confusion, slurred speech or disorientation
- muscle pain
Sepsis in Infants and Children
In infants and children, sepsis can deteriorate far more rapidly. Parents should seek urgent medical attention if a child has:
- convulsions or fits
- rapid breathing
- skin discolouration – very pale or bluish
- a rash that doesn’t fade when you press it
- a fever OR very low temperature
- not passing urine (or no wet nappy) for several hours
- repeated vomiting
- is not feeding
“I would recommend to everyone the excellent David Gazzard who is absolutely wonderful. Although he is clearly a popular choice he always made me feel I was his only client.” PH, July 2016
Diagnosis of Sepsis
A definitive diagnosis depends upon the results of a blood test and possibly also a stool sample. Recent wounds may also be swabbed for analysis. However, this all takes time and cases of suspected sepsis are usually presumptively diagnosed based upon a patient’s temperature, heart rate and breathing rate.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have very clear, detailed guidelines for medical practitioners, entitled “Sepsis: recognition, diagnosis and early management”.
“Thank you so much David for everything you’ve done for me. It’s been a difficult journey but I feel you’ve been at my side and on my side the whole way.” HN, November 2017
Treatment of Sepsis
The treatment of sepsis depends upon its severity. If detected early and vital organs are not yet affected, a course of antibiotics at home may be sufficient. However, if the condition is more advanced at the time of diagnosis then hospital admission is inevitable.
The UK Sepsis Trust, a charity whose principal aim is to prevent death from sepsis, urges healthcare professionals to undertake ‘The Sepsis Six’. These are six simple steps which, if followed immediately, can double a patient’s chance of survival.
The Sepsis Six are:
- Administer oxygen
- Test the blood for infection
- Give antibiotics
- Give IV fluids
- Measure serum lactate (lactic acid in the blood) and haemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen)
- Measure hourly urine output
Although sepsis is commonly encountered by healthcare professionals, the symptoms are often overlooked and/or confused with other common conditions.
“Overlooking these symptoms means that the opportunity to treat sepsis in its early stages is missed” says David Gazzard. “At the very least you’d expect that somebody exhibiting common symptoms of infection will be given a basic physical examination, but it’s astonishing just how often that doesn’t happen. And I come across cases where even when sepsis is suspected or diagnosed, it is not treated quickly or appropriately. The stark reality is that up to forty per cent of people, old or young, with this condition will die.”
Following treatment, many people who survive sepsis are able to return to a normal life. However, as a result of the condition, some people are left with longstanding physical and/or psychological symptoms.
In addition to their campaign to stop preventable deaths from the condition, The UK Sepsis Trust provides support for patients and their families.
“It’s important to remember that the effect of sepsis can be both life changing and lifelong” says David. “If you’re affected by sepsis, you need a solicitor on your side who truly understands the condition and can help to get you the support, treatment and compensation you so desperately need.”
By their very nature, sepsis claims are often complex and high value. They necessarily require a highly experienced solicitor. Accordingly, unlike many law firms, at BLB conduct of sepsis claims is not delegated to junior staff. If you instruct David, he will have full conduct of your claim. You can speak to David free of charge and in total confidence by calling him direct on 01793 615011 or by emailing him at email@example.com