Sepsis is one of the most common medical conditions in the world, but it is also one of the most preventable and, crucially, one of the most misdiagnosed.

With the annual World Sepsis Day on 13th September, we believe it is important to raise awareness and highlight the need for early detection and treatment. This can be critical in preventing serious infection and in extreme cases death.

Organised by the Global Sepsis Alliance, this year’s event will be the tenth consecutive awareness day, following on from the very first in 2012. For more information and resources please visit their website.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is an extreme reaction of the immune system to an infection. In essence, the body overreacts to an infection that already exists and triggers a chain reaction which causes the body to attack its own tissue and organs. If not recognised and treated promptly this can result in septic shock, multi-organ failure and in some cases death. Given that infections are so common throughout the global population, Sepsis is a major health concern. It effects 47-50 million people annually, and in such cases 11 million people have died. This also means that 20% of deaths worldwide are associated with Sepsis.

Who can get Sepsis?

Anyone with an infection can get Sepsis. You can’t catch Sepsis, it happens inside your body, when an infection you already have triggers an immune system response. Some people are at a higher risk for Sepsis.  Children under one-year-old are vulnerable to infections leading to Sepsis, as are adults over 75 and anyone with a weakened immune system, ie. a person who has recently had surgery or has a serious illness.

In most cases Sepsis can be prevented if an infection is properly diagnosed and treated, hence the importance of raising awareness and spotting symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Sepsis?

Symptoms in children may include:

  • Fast breathing
  • Having a “fit” or convulsion
  • Skin is mottled, bluish or pale
  • A rash that doesn’t fade when you press it
  • Sleeping a lot or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

Symptoms in adults may include:

  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering, muscle pain and fever
  • Passing no urine during a day
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin is mottled or discoloured

Even if these symptoms are recognised and severe consequences are prevented, a patient may feel the after-effects of Sepsis for some time. These effects can include changes in your mood/anxiety/depression, organ dysfunction, joint and muscle pain, difficulty sleeping, tiredness and poor memory or concentration.

It’s not always possible to prevent sepsis, however there are steps you can take to prevent infections. These include keeping up to date with vaccines, good wound car, following instructions and completing the full course when taking antibiotics and improving hand hygiene.

Our clinical negligence team working with Sepsis patients

At Ison Harrison we have helped a number of patients and their families who have developed Sepsis and experienced serious consequences, because they were misdiagnosed or Sepsis was not diagnosed quick enough. Delayed diagnosis can lead to complications such as limb amputation, organ failure, septic-shock, long term memory loss, chronic pain and fatigue or even death.

Our clinical negligence team have assisted people who are living with long term consequences of a delayed diagnosis of Sepsis, and whilst compensation can’t reverse the damage caused by the negligent treatment, it can help implement care or purchase aids and equipment to deal with the long term consequences and regain independence.

This is why we are supporting World Sepsis Day to raise critical awareness of the condition and improve the chances of Sepsis being detected and people making a full recovery from their original infection.

If you or a loved one have experienced Sepsis and suspect this could have been treated differently, or if you would like more information about making a claim, please get in touch to discuss your case with us.

Share this...