Sepsis or Septicemia Claims

100,000 people are admitted to hospital with sepsis each year and around 37,000 die from the condition. Sepsis or blood poisoning has three stages, progressing from mild to severe and ultimately septic shock (which can cause often irreparable damage to vital organs like the heart, lungs and liver).

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Sepsis (also called septicemia) is a life-threatening condition which can be caused by peritonitis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, encephalitis or post-surgical infection. The elderly and very young are at greatest risk of septicemia, which if left untreated can lead to potentially lethal septic shock.

If sepsis is identified and treated in its mild stages, the individual has a far better chance of survival. The longer it is left undiagnosed or untreated, the greater the risk of organ damage or death from septic shock.

There are some people who are genetically predisposed to sepsis, but in the main patients with severe burns or open wounds that require surgery and those with cancer or underlying liver or kidney failure are at higher risk of septicemia.

Good surgical hygiene and the correct after care will reduce the risk of suffering septicemia. Tests for sepsis are easy to perform and simple steps such as quickly giving intravenous antibiotics and fluids reduce the risk of death by over one-third.

Maternal sepsis is a real problem for new mothers and is a major cause of death for women who have just given birth. If this condition is left untreated it can develop into septic shock in a matter of hours.

There are established guidelines called ‘Sepsis 6’ which dictate treatment for septicemia. If medical staff did not diagnose your condition or failed to follow the guidelines, and you suffered as a result, it may be possible to make a compensation claim.

There are some people who are genetically predisposed to sepsis, but in the main patients with severe injuries such as burns or open wounds that require surgery and those with cancer or underlying liver or kidney failure are at higher risk of septicemia.

Good surgical hygiene and the correct after care will reduce the risk of suffering septicemia. Tests for sepsis are easy to perform and simple steps such as quickly giving intravenous antibiotics and fluids reduce the risk of death by over one-third.

Maternal sepsis is a real problem for new mothers and is a major cause of death for women who’ve just given birth. If this condition is left untreated it can develop into septic shock in a matter of hours.

There are established guidelines called ‘Sepsis 6’ which dictate treatment for septicemia. If medical staff did not diagnose your condition or they failed to follow those guidelines and you suffered as a result, it may be possible to make a compensation claim.

Access Legal is a proud legal partner of Sepsis Trust UK.
I want to know

How do I make a claim about septicemia

This is specialist work. It is important that your chosen law firm has the legal expertise and the medical knowledge to understand and appreciate what evidence is required and to interpret that evidence when it is obtained.

Your lawyers must also have relationships with the appropriate medical and other experts who can assess your immediate health needs and the support you may urgently require. Their input will be absolutely crucial to your recovery and the success of your compensation claim.

You must be able to prove with the support of our expert lawyers at Access Legal that you received sub-standard treatment and we must be able to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that you suffered harm as a direct consequence of that sub-standard treatment.

Where a diagnosis of sepsis was delayed, either by your GP or hospital staff especially if you were known to be ‘at risk’, that delay could constitute negligence. In cases concerning a negligent failure to take the correct preventative measures or to follow the therapeutic treatments outlined in the ‘Sepsis Six’ guidelines in a timely manner (or not at all), we also have to prove that this lead to the condition which caused the harm you suffered.

If you feel you may have a case, call us as soon as possible for a free initial consultation. There are time limits to making a claim (three years usually). We can give you the benefit of our experience in such claims and an objective assessment of the likely success of your claim.

How long will a claim about septicemia take

There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on a variety of factors, including whether the other party admits liability.

We will need access to medical records and to medical evidence from independent experts to provide a variety of reports, initially to establish if there's a case to be answered. We then need to obtain evidence about your current condition and what the future holds for you with regard to your health and what assistance you are likely to require on an ongoing basis.

Your personal circumstances and employment prospects will dictate how many reports are required to build up a complete picture about your future health and enable us to take account of lost earnings if you cannot return to work and also the cost whatever help and support you may need.

All this takes time, but this information is vital so that all the necessary evidence is obtained to allow us to recover the maximum financial compensation to which you're entitled.

How co-operative your opponent chooses to be can also affect the time it takes to resolve.  Sometimes, they will accept our evidence and our valuation or they may dispute it.  We will if appropriate, enter into negotiations in order to reach a satisfactory settlement. The length of time spent in such negotiations can vary.

We will always aim to resolve your case in your best interests without delay, but it will take time to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome for you.

If I have a case about septicemia

As the claimant the onus will be on you, with our expert assistance, to prove your claim, but such proof need only be on balance of probability (i.e. a greater than 50% likelihood) that the failure of care was indeed responsible for the injuries you have suffered.

A medical negligence compensation claim is quite different to other types of personal injury action. The most important evidence to support your claim will come from independent medical experts whose opinions will be crucial. The choice of expert and the way their evidence is used can influence the amount of compensation you recover.

There are time limits within which you can claim so whatever your circumstances you should contact Access Legal as soon as is practicable. These can be complex, lengthy and demanding cases, and the first priority must always be your health.

The lawyers at Access Legal are medical negligence specialists and members of specialist panels of the Law Society or patient safety charity AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents). They understand and are able to interpret the medical evidence as well as the law and have the necessary experience and skills to handle your case.

More about septicemia claims

Septicemia is the body’s inflammatory response to bacteria that is invading the bloodstream. This response is exaggerated by a very weak immune system (or an over-zealous one in cases of maternal sepsis) and overwhelms the system, leading to organ failure.

There are a number of factors that can influence a new mother developing maternal sepsis, including Caesarean section and anaemia. However, the biggest risk factor for any victim of septicemia is late or missed diagnosis. Injury and death can be prevented by following the procedures given in the ‘Sepsis Six’ guidelines.

These were developed in 2006 and are endorsed by the UK Sepsis Trust, which suggests that 12,500 deaths could be prevented if they were universally adopted. The guidelines recommend three diagnostic and three therapeutic actions, all delivered within one hour of the initial diagnosis of sepsis.

These consist of administering high flow oxygen, taking blood cultures, giving broad spectrum antibiotics and intravenous fluids and accurately measuring hourly urine output. These simple, but effective, steps have been proven to reduce mortality and decrease the length of stay in hospital.

If your healthcare professional fails to diagnose septicemia or suspects that you may have sepsis but fails to test for it or implement the actions suggested in the ‘Sepsis Six’ guidelines, they will have failed in their duty of care to you and you may have a septicaemia compensation claim.

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'You need to have a legal team who are caring, who you absolutely trust and who will tell you the truth. Certainly from our point of view Denise Stephens from Access Legal has been absolutely amazing.'

Septicemia or Sepsis Claims

Our specialist solicitors have many years of experience of representing clients in sepsis claims so don't hesitate contact us and we will advise you whether you have a case for compensation.

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