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Sepsis negligence claims

You may be able to claim for medical negligence if a diagnosis for sepsis was either missed or misdiagnosed and treatment was delayed.

Last Updated November 8th, 2023.

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Key points for making an injury claim

The most important things to remember when claiming compensation for sepsis are:

  • Sepsis can occur if symptoms are ignored by doctors
  • You need to be able to prove that your doctor or hospital was responsible
  • You can claim on a No Win, No Fee basis
  • You generally have three years to make a claim
  • Your compensation amount is affected by your injuries and the impacts on your life.

Sepsis misdiagnosis claims

Sepsis can be a side effect of a long stay in the hospital, when bacteria enter the body and causes blood poisoning. If medical malpractice has led you to contract sepsis, or if your doctor has misdiagnosed you, we can help you make a compensation claim.

What is Sepsis?

Also known as septicaemia, sepsis kills one person in the UK every 12 minutes. It is a rare complication of an infection which can cause multiple organ failure. If it’s not diagnosed quickly, it can lead to septic shock (a dangerous drop in blood pressure) or even death.

What are the long-term side effects of sepsis?

If you’re diagnosed with sepsis early, it’s unlikely that there will be any lasting consequences. However, if it’s not treated, you may develop severe sepsis, which can reduce blood supply to tissues and affect your internal organs. You may also experience septic shock. Both of these are potentially life-threatening.

Some people experience post-sepsis syndrome. This causes a general feeling of being unwell, including excessive tiredness, pain, changes in vision and dry skin. It may also leave sufferers feeling anxious, and can last for up to 18 months.

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How do I know if I can claim for sepsis?

You may be able to claim against the NHS or private healthcare providers if your sepsis diagnosis was missed – for example, if doctors ignored test results or sent you home when you had symptoms. Speak to our no win no fee solicitors today to find out if you have a legal right to claim compensation.

Who can claim for sepsis negligence?

If you have had a late-stage sepsis diagnosis, you may be able to claim for medical negligence. As with all private or NHS negligence claims, you need to prove that your condition got worse, and that your healthcare provider was at fault.

Some reasons to make a potential claim include:

  • Evidence that doctors have not referred you to hospital, or sent you home early when you had septicaemia symptoms
  • Reports of MRSA or other bacteria outbreaks in the hospital which could have led to your diagnosis
  • Failure to take blood tests when symptoms were present
  • Failure to act on abnormal blood test results, such as raised C-reactive protein levels, high white blood cell counts, urea or creatinine
  • Delays in taking blood cultures or running diagnostic tests on body parts with symptoms, for example an MRI on the kidneys
  • Evidence that antibiotics were not given after surgery or childbirth
  • Failure to treat tissue damage such as abscesses or necrosis (rotting tissue)
  • Death due to organ failure or other sepsis-related symptoms.

How to claim for medical negligence

Want to know more about claiming for medical or clinical negligence. Jargon free, we’ll explain your legal rights, letting you know everything you need to know about claiming.

How much compensation can I claim for medical negligence?

Read our medical negligence legal guides to understand your legal rights and how much compensation you may be able to claim.

How does sepsis become a medical negligence claim?

Sepsis misdiagnosis, including delays to treatment, can lead to a claim for medical negligence. Sepsis can cause life-changing injuries, and those in recovery can be left with long-term health problems, including post-sepsis syndrome.

How to make a claim for Sepsis negligence

To start your claim against your local NHS trust or other medical professional, you should call our specialist legal team. We may be able to help you with a No Win, No Fee settlement. Compensation comes in four steps:

  1. Collect as much evidence as you can, including all your medical records, and call us. We’ll go through what happened and may ask for evidence such as witness statements or photographs of physical symptoms. It’s best to call as soon as you feel well enough to do so.
  2. We’ll send off your evidence, then ask one of our trusted medical advisors to examine you. They will write up a report for ‘breach of duty’, which shows that your healthcare provider made an error, and ‘causation’, which outlines your physical damage. Once we have these reports and proof of liability and damage, we will send a claims letter.
  3. The defendant (the organisation you’re suing) will have four months to reply. We will look at your case and judge how it has affected your life, which will then help us decide how much compensation you’re owed. If your healthcare provider admits liability, you’ll be awarded compensation minus our fees.
  4. If the organisation does not admit liability, there may be court proceedings. Less than 1% of medical negligence claims go to court, but we will support you if you have a strong case.
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How long after my Sepsis diagnosis can I claim?

We’d advise you get in touch with us as soon as possible for the best possible evidence. However, you generally have three years from the date of your diagnosis, or the day you realised sepsis caused your illness, to claim.

The exceptions to this are:

  • If you’re claiming on behalf of a child, in which case, you have until their 18th They can claim for themselves between their 18th and 21st birthday.
  • If you or the person you’re claiming for is mentally incapacitated, for example, if they have suffered brain damage.

How much compensation can I claim for sepsis?

There is no one set fee for sepsis compensation claims. Rather, our expert solicitors assess your payout depending on the severity of your injuries, any financial losses, and the impacts the sepsis had on your life.

What is the average amount of compensation I can claim for Sepsis?

The Judicial Board Guidelines can help to give you an estimated compensation figure based on which part of your body was affected. For example:

  • Injuries to the bladder can be worth as much as £112,000 in compensation
  • Injuries to the kidney can be worth as much as £167,000 in compensation
  • Injuries to the bowel can be worth as much as £119,000 in compensation.

How is the compensation calculated?

Our expert medical negligence solicitors will calculate your claim based on the following factors:

  • How serious your injury is, for example minor damage or life-threatening organ failure
  • Any loss of earnings, for example, time taken off work
  • Any money you’ve had to pay out for treatment
  • Any adjustments needed in your home
  • Psychological damage
  • Changes to your lifestyle such as no longer being able to work/take part in hobbies.

In lawyer terms, we refer to physical injury as ‘general damages’ and financial losses as ‘special damages’.

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Choosing the right no win, no fee solicitors

If you’ve suffered medical negligence that led to septicaemia, our expert solicitors are here to help. We can process your claim on a no win, no fee basis, and if this is not possible, we can also advise you on how to claim Legal Aid. We offer 20 years of experience in dealing with personal injury compensation, so we’re ready to listen to you.

How to start a sepsis negligence claim

To prove medical negligence, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that your healthcare provider was at fault, and that you were injured. Before you call us, make sure you ask for copies of all your medical reports, and where appropriate, collect witness statements and photographs.

Will I have to go to court?

Court appearances are very rare for medical negligence claims – less than 1% of those who sue for clinical negligence end up going to court. However, if you are worried, our friendly solicitors will be there with you to guide you through the process.

Can I claim for a loved one who passed away as a result of sepsis?

You can claim on behalf of a loved one who sadly died of sepsis. The same rules apply whether you are claiming for yourself or on somebody else’s behalf. You will have three years from the date of their death to make a claim, and you will need to provide evidence.

What causes Sepsis?

Sepsis is most commonly caused by bacterial infections, though these can also be viral or fungal. Infections can develop anywhere in the body, but they are commonest in the lungs, bladder, tummy or pelvic areas.

When large numbers of bacteria enter the bloodstream, this causes blood poisoning, which can lead to tissue damage or organ failure.

Is sepsis the hospital’s fault?

Sepsis can happen to those who have had a long stay in the hospital, for example with surgery, or if they’ve had a foreign object inserted, such as a catheter. In these cases, the hospital would be at fault, but other causes include:

  • Lung infections
  • Appendicitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Skin infections
  • Meningitis
  • Flu
  • Infection of organ lining such as the heart or the abdominal cavity.

Under normal circumstances, the body can fight off infections. However, if your immune system is compromised, such as when you’ve just had an operation, the infection can spread and lead to sepsis.

Common sepsis symptoms

Sepsis affects both adults and children, but the symptoms can be different. You should call 999 or go to Accident and Emergency if you notice any of these symptoms.

In adults

  • Breathlessness
  • Confusion and slurred speech
  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a tumbler glass over it.

In children

  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • Breathlessness, grunting or very fast breathing
  • A weak, high-pitched cry that sounds abnormal
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a tumbler glass over it
  • Not responding as they usually word, or sleeping more than usual.

What is the treatment for sepsis?

Septicaemia treatment will vary depending on where in the body the infection began, and the damage you’ve suffered so far. Usually, you will be referred to hospital, where you’ll be given antibiotics on a drip, and then oral antibiotics to take for some days afterward.

If you have had a severe reaction such as septic shock, you may need treatment in an intensive care unit.

Who is at risk of sepsis?

If you’ve had any type of infection, you may be at an increased risk of sepsis. However, it’s most common in those with a weakened immune system, for example:

  • Babies under 12 months or the elderly over 75
  • Frail people, such as those with a weakened immune system
  • Those undergoing chemotherapy
  • Those who have recently had surgery
  • Those who have given birth recently
  • People with chronic illnesses like diabetes
  • Hospital patients.

NHS guidelines to prevent Sepsis

Under guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), medical professionals should view sepsis with the same urgency as they would a heart attack – if it is suspected outside of the hospital environment.

Patients should be viewed by senior decision-makers on arrival, and should have blood and organ function tests. These should also involve taking blood cultures to check for blood infections.

High-risk patients should be given a broad-spectrum antibiotic straight away through an IV drip. They may also need chest X-rays, urine analyses or radiological imaging tests. These patients should be monitored closely, and seen by a consultant if they do not respond to treatment within an hour.

What is the Sepsis Six?

The Sepsis Six refers to septicaemia management when a patient arrives in the hospital. These are three treatments and three tests within an hour of diagnosis:

  • Antibiotic treatment
  • Intravenous fluid treatment
  • Oxygen treatment if necessary
  • Blood culture tests
  • Blood sample tests
  • Urine tests

Patients will receive a scored to determine how risky the sepsis is. This is known as the SOFA (sequential organ failure assessment) score.

Start your sepsis misdiagnosis claim

If you’ve been let down by a medical professional and suffered with sepsis, contact Express Solicitors. We specialise in handling clinical negligence claims just like yours, and will go above and beyond to secure you the best payout possible.

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