The NHS and sepsis

Waiting roomWe hear a lot about the dangers of sepsis these days, and the NHS have recently implemented new guidelines to help spot sepsis early and reduce the number of sepsis claims against the NHS.

Sometimes referred to septicaemia, sepsis is the response to bacteria entering the blood stream that in extreme cases can cause organ failure, tissue damage and even death.

Is there a difference between septicaemia and sepsis?

Although the two terms are generally thought to mean the same thing, there is a difference. Sepsis is the result of septicaemia.

What causes sepsis

Normally, due to your immune system, an infection is kept in one place – a localised infection. Tissue swelling prevents the infection spreading while also helping to fight it. White blood cells travel to the site of the infection to fight the germs causing the infection.
If the infection is particularly severe, or the immune system has been weakened, then the infection can spread throughout the body. As the infection spreads, the immune system goes into overdrive to fight it.

This can cause problems with tissue inflammation around the body, causing a restriction in blood flow, and a reduction in oxygen reaching the organs and bodily tissues.

NHS response

Due to the speed at which it can take over the body, and that there is no definitive test, the NHS has introduced measures to identify patients who may be susceptible to developing sepsis.

In figures obtained by the BBC, the indication is that 75% of patients in England got treatment within one hour between January and March this year. Early treatment of sepsis is vital to ensure that further injury is not caused. However, figures between trusts vary greatly.

If you or your relative have been in hospital and suffered a misdiagnosis of sepsis which resulted in injury, the you may benefit from a free initial chat with a specialist medical negligence solicitor to see if you could make a sepsis compensation claim.

Get expert legal advice

Get free initial legal advice from Zoe Diss, a specialist medical negligence solicitor. Find out if you can claim compensation.

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