Software may miss signs of sepsis

The limitation of software used by ambulance call handlers poses a “significant risk” that signs of sepsis could be missed.

With the current focus within the NHS on diagnosing sepsis early, it is worrying that software used by the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAS) does not currently have questions surrounding the identification of sepsis.

The EEAS are now working with their software supplier to add extra questions to help call handlers identify patients with suspected sepsis, such as those experiencing a high temperature or are receiving ongoing treatment.

The need for specific questions surrounding sepsis was highlighted in December 2018 where a patient should have been identified as being at risk of sepsis, due to ongoing cancer treatment and a high temperature, but was told by an ambulance call handler to visit their GP or make their own way to hospital. The patient later spent several days in hospital due to a bacterial infection. The additional questions should reduce the chances of misdiagnosed sepsis.

The EEAS board found that there is currently “no specific protocol” within their triage software to identify sepsis, and this is now being addressed.

Failure to identify this silent killer, could result in a patient sustaining life changing injuries such as amputation, which could result in a claim for sepsis compensation. It is therefore crucial that medical professionals are given every opportunity to identify sepsis at an early stage. The NHS has recently issued new guidelines surrounding the early diagnosis of sepsis, highlighting the importance currently being placed on this blood infection.

Our medical negligence solicitors are on hand to discuss any possible sepsis claim you may have. If we agree to take on your case, it is done so on a no win no fee basis, and we offer free initial advice. Call us now and see if you could make a claim.

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