Death of newborn baby due to misdiagnosed sepsis

Despite an NHS initiative to identify cases of sepsis at an early stage, it appears there are still lessons to be learned to avoid sepsis misdiagnosis.

Signs of sepsis were missed in a 5 week old baby by both hospital staff and a GP, which resulted in the tragic death of the newborn.

Sepsis Misdiagnosis

After noticing her baby boy seemed to have breathing difficulties as well as a rash, his mum took him directly to A&E at the end of November 2019 as she could not get an appointment with a GP. The symptoms were dismissed as bronchitis and no further tests were ordered. These two symptoms are included by the NHS in a list of symptoms of sepsis to look out for in young children and babies.

Symptoms of sepsis in young children or babies

  • A rash that does not fade when pressure is applied, much like meningitis
  • Breathing difficulties, breathing very fast or breathlessness
  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • High-pitched cry unlike their normal cry
  • Sleepier than normal or having trouble waking them
  • Less responsive than normal

After a deterioration in his condition, the baby was taken back to hospital on the advice of his GP. Again, they were sent home, this time with the doctors saying it was just a cold.

After a few days, with the baby falling in and out of consciousness, the mother called 999. When a paramedic arrived she was told it was a good sign the baby was crying and the incident was downgraded, waiting a further half hour for an ambulance to arrive.

Once in hospital, there was a six hour wait for a bed on a specialist children’s ward. It was during this wait that tests were started and suspicions of sepsis were raised, and treatment was begun.

Unfortunately, the treatment was started too late and the baby died in hospital.

Sepsis claims

Unfortunately, a mistake made in a healthcare setting can have a very real impact on day to day lives, as in the case above. There were many points at which the sepsis infection could have been picked up, and in these cases there may be recourse in the form of sepsis compensation.

Our specialist medical negligence solicitors have experience of dealing with these types of cases on a regular basis and can offer you support and the best advice in how to approach making a claim against a hospital or medical professional who has caused harm to you or your family member.

If you would like advice on making a sepsis claim, please contact us immediately to get free initial advice.

Get expert advice

Call today and speak to Jason Brady, specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

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