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A delay in diagnosing sepsis can be fatal

January 14, 2018

The severity of sepsis can range dramatically from a condition that is very treatable, to one that is potentially fatal. As such the treatment for sepsis varies significantly.

As with many conditions, the earlier you diagnose and treat sepsis, the more likely the treatment will work and that individual will make a full recovery. If sepsis is diagnosed early, it is usually possible to treat it with antibiotics as an outpatient. Problems occur when the infection spreads to vital organs or when the individual goes into septic shock. In these instances that person will need hospital treatment.

Severe sepsis can have fatal consequence for 40% of people with that diagnosis and septic shock can be fatal for 60% of people with this diagnosis. However, if sepsis is diagnosed and treated early you can be expected to make a fully recovery. This is why it is very important to be diagnosed and receive treatment as early as possible.

Sepsis often develops after an infection has occurred somewhere on the body. That infection may be visible and there may be obvious signs of infection such as pus, redness or swelling. This may make it easier for a doctor to diagnose and prescribe antibiotics. However, there are some areas of the body where infection will commonly lead to sepsis, which are not so visible. These include the lungs, pelvis, abdomen and urinary tract. Once there has been an infection in any of these localised areas, this can lead to sepsis if not monitored and maintained appropriately.

The symptoms of sepsis can be similar to those of other conditions, such as fever and an increased heartbeat. Fast breathing can also be seen as a symptom of sepsis. However, when sepsis becomes severe or the individual goes into septic shock, symptoms become much more indicative of the severity of the condition. These symptoms include being confused or disorientated, loss of consciousness, slurred speech, clammy skin, muscle pain and severe breathlessness. In addition to this, the individual may be suffering with, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea.

The NHS advise that you should seek immediate advice from your GP if you think you may have early symptoms of sepsis. Especially if you have recently suffered an injury or have had an infection, so as not to delay any potential diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Here at Metcalfes we have an experienced team of Medical Negligence Lawyers who can offer you specialist advice.   We deal with all areas of medical negligence including delay in diagnosis. If you believe that you or a family member has suffered as a result of medical negligence then please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.

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Website content note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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A delay in diagnosing sepsis can be fatal

Gillian Clark

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