Welcome to our guide on sepsis medical negligence claims. Did a healthcare professional fail to diagnose you with sepsis as a result of a breach of duty of care? Or perhaps the treatment you received for this condition fell below the minimum standard of care that should be expected? If this is the case, and you were made ill or your condition worsened as a result, you may be able to make a medical negligence claim.
Sepsis is also known as blood poisoning or septicaemia. It can be life-threatening. When you seek medical attention for a serious illness, you expect to receive a minimum standard of care from those treating you. But what happens if sometimes, the care that you receive falls below an acceptable standard and causes you harm or means that your condition gets worse than it otherwise would have. This is known as medical negligence.
Medical Negligence Claim For Sepsis
A medical negligence solicitor can thoroughly evaluate your case gathering any evidence needed to ensure that you receive the right amount of compensation.
Our team of advisers are on hand 24/7 to speak with you about your situation. If you have a valid case, they can connect you to a medical negligence solicitor from our panel to begin your claim.
You can get in touch with our friendly team of advisers by:
- Calling them on 0800 652 3087 to chat about your case today.
- Filling in our online claims form for a response at your earliest convenience.
- Chatting with an adviser via our live chat pop-up box for an instant response.
Select A Section
- What Is Sepsis Medical Negligence?
- What Is Sepsis?
- Who May Be At Risk Of Developing Sepsis?
- Signs And Symptoms Of Sepsis In Adults
- Signs And Symptoms Of Sepsis In Babies And Children
- Preventing And Controlling Infections
- When And How Does Sepsis Cause Amputations?
- What Are Inquests?
- Could A Solicitor Help Me At An Inquest?
- Time Limits To Claim For Negligent Medical Care
- What Are Sepsis Medical Negligence Claims Worth?
- No Win No Fee Sepsis Medical Negligence Claims
- Get Help With Your Case
- Sepsis Statistics
- Supporting Resources
- Sepsis And Fatal Medical Negligence Claim FAQs
Medical practitioners, such as doctors and nurses, have a legal duty of care to provide a minimum standard of care. If this duty of care is breached, it may be because the doctor has not provided acceptable standards. What could be considered a breach of duty of care:
- Negligent misdiagnosis – A sepsis misdiagnosis can result in you receiving the wrong medication or treatment for the condition you have. Fast treatment is important in treating someone with sepsis, as their health can deteriorate quickly. Furthermore, if you are given treatment for a condition you don’t actually have, this could cause you additional harm.
- Negligent missed diagnosis – Sometimes, your sepsis diagnosis may be missed entirely because the doctor failed to listen to your clear symptoms. This is extremely dangerous, as, without treatment, the sepsis will worsen. If you never receive the correct sepsis diagnosis, it can be life-threatening.
- Medication errors – If you have sepsis, you may need medication as part of your treatment. Being given the wrong medication can have a significant effect on your illness and may result in it worsening.
- Negligent delayed diagnosis – This is when the physician’s negligence causes a delay in a sepsis diagnosis which can lead to a significant deterioration in someone’s health, even within a few days.
- Mistakes in testing – Tests, such as blood tests, must be done correctly and efficiently. If a medical professional carries out the tests or interprets the results incorrectly, it can be severely damaging to the person’s health.
For a medical negligence claim to be valid it must be proven that the medical practitioner treating you was negligent. They provided you with care that was below the standards expected of their profession. Sometimes, complications can occur even when an acceptable standard of care has been provided. In order to show that negligence has occurred, it would need to be proved that the doctor breached their duty of care to you.
Proof of medical negligence comes in the form of the Bolam test. This is where a panel of the medical professional’s peers are asked what course of action they would have taken if presented with the same circumstances. If they agree that the physician acted within professional standards it will not be considered medical negligence.
Sepsis is when the body reacts badly to an infection. It can be life-threatening and must be treated as soon as possible after symptoms arise. It’s caused by the immune system overreacting to infection and attacking your organs and tissues as a result.
Sepsis is also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning. As you can probably imagine, poisoning of the blood is extremely dangerous and requires treatment immediately. Early detection and intervention is key to the recovery and survival of sepsis.
Sepsis can lead to amputation, disability and long-term health effects. In some cases, it can even be fatal. This is why sepsis medical negligence can be life-altering and devastating for patients. If you’ve been made to suffer because of clinical negligence more than you would have if you’d received the correct level of care, you may be able to claim.
Anyone who has an infection is at risk of developing sepsis. However, according to the NHS, these groups are more susceptible to suffering an infection that can result in sepsis:
- Babies under the age of 1 (especially if they’re born early or if the mother had an infection while she was carrying the baby)
- Elderly people above the age of 75
- People who suffer from diabetes
- People whose immune systems are weakened, for example, after an organ transplant or if they’re undergoing chemotherapy treatment
- Women who’ve recently had an abortion, given birth or suffered a miscarriage
Of course, not every person in these brackets who contracts an infection will develop sepsis. However, these groups are at higher risk.
Unfortunately, sepsis can be hard to spot. This is because the symptoms of sepsis might be similar to those of other conditions, like a chest infection or the flu.
Some symptoms of sepsis in adults and older children include:
- Slurred speech and confusion
- Pale, blue, or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
- A rash similar to meningitis that’s still visible when you roll glass on top of it
- Breathlessness, breathing fast or difficult breathing
Someone with sepsis may not have all these symptoms. If you notice some of them, you should ring 999 or go to A&E immediately. If you’re not sure if it’s sepsis, you can ring 111 for advice.
Please note that sepsis can be hard to spot in these groups:
- People who suffer from dementia
- Anyone who finds it difficult to communicate
- Someone who has a learning difficulty
It can also be difficult to spot sepsis in young children and babies. Some of the symptoms of sepsis in babies and young children include:
- Blotchy, blue, or pale skin, lips, or tongue
- A rash that doesn’t fade when you press a glass over it (similar to the meningitis rash)
- Breathlessness or breathing quickly and difficulty breathing
- High-pitched, weak crying that’s different to their usual cry
- Not wanting to be fed or disinterest in usual activities
- Sleepiness and difficulty waking up
- Is very unwell and feels something is wrong
- Hasn’t passed urine for over 12 hours (in young children and babies) or all day (in adults)
- Can’t keep food or liquids down due to vomiting
- A wound is surrounded by swelling or redness or is painful
- A low or high temperature
You should call 111 even if you’re unsure of whether or not it’s sepsis. They can arrange for a doctor or nurse to call you or arrange an ambulance if necessary. It’s always better to get checked out as soon as possible.
To prevent sepsis from worsening, it’s important that it is spotted and treated quickly. Nurses and doctors should be trained to spot the early signs of sepsis. Once they spot these signs, they should alert other members of staff and work to reach an official diagnosis.
There are also things that you can do to lower the risk of infections that might lead to sepsis. For instance, you should always follow your doctor’s advice about cleaning and caring for wounds and take antibiotics according to instructions.
Similarly, if someone you know or you yourself have symptoms of sepsis, you should report to A&E or call 999 immediately. Even if you’re unsure if it’s sepsis, it’s better to be safe and get checked out.
You may be able to claim compensation if a breach of duty of care led to your sepsis being missed or misdiagnosed, which in turn directly caused you additional harm. Get in touch with our team for more information on what is classed as medical negligence and when you may be able to claim.
Our blood plays a vital role in supplying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs throughout our body. Blood travels through our blood vessels (such as our arteries) and only clots when it’s needed.
Blood clotting happens when the blood stops moving through our arteries, or only some of it moves as it’s partially blocked and backed up. This is often caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT). When blood clots where it is not supposed to, this can stop parts of your body from getting the oxygen and nutrients they need.
Sepsis can accelerate the blood’s clotting mechanism. This leads to a lack of nutrients spreading to tissue in the hands, feet, toes, legs, and fingers. In turn, this can cause the tissue to die and become gangrenous. The gangrenous area is at risk of spreading infection and so must be removed.
If the affected area is small, the surgeon may try to remove a small amount of tissue where the infection is. However, if the damage has spread widely, a limb may need to be amputated.
If a coroner receives a death report, they may investigate it. According to Gov.UK, the coroner makes the decision whether:
- A post-mortem is required
- There’s a clear cause of death
- An inquest needs to be held
If the cause of death is unknown, the coroner will have a post-mortem carried out. Acting on the results of the postmortem the Coroner pay decide an inquest is needed. An inquest may be held if medical negligence contributed to the cause of death, as it may be classed as an unnatural death.
An inquest does not address the issue of who is to blame for someone losing their life or where responsibility lies. Instead, it aims to uncover the facts about the circumstances of someone’s death.
An inquest of a family member or loved one can be daunting to navigate alone, but a solicitor can help. They may be able to:
- Keep important evidence safe for the inquest – They can secure evidence that may have been dismissed and could reveal the cause of death.
- Ask witnesses questions – A solicitor can question those who were present during the lead up to the death. This may give a clearer understanding of the circumstances that caused it to happen.
- Pursue a medical compensation claim – If it’s found that medical negligence caused an unnecessary death, a medical negligence lawyer may be able to represent you in making a claim.
If you’d like to learn more about how a medical negligence solicitor could help you at an inquest, you can chat with our team of advisers to receive free legal advice. If you have a valid claim, they can connect you with a specialist solicitor from our panel.
The typical claims time limit is generally three years. That means three years from the exact date of the instance of negligence or three years from when you gain knowledge that the negligence caused the ill effect in question. For instance, if a loved one died solely because of medical negligence related to sepsis and this was only revealed as part of an inquest or post-mortem, the three-year time limit would run from when this became known, not the date that they died or became ill.
If you’re under 18, the three-year time limit only begins when you turn 18. Before this, someone you trust can act as a litigation friend to pursue the claim on your behalf. The compensation money will be put into a secure bank account for you to access when you’re over 18. If no claim has been made for you by the time you turn 18, you have until your 21st birthday to claim.
If someone lacks the mental capacity to make a claim, the three-year claims time limit is suspended unless they regain their mental capacity. Otherwise, someone can act as a litigation friend to pursue the claim for them.
To receive more information about how long you may have left to start a claim, you can contact our team of advisers. They will be happy to offer you free legal advice about medical negligence claim time limits and the exceptions that apply.
Some websites offer a medical negligence claims calculator, and these can be useful tools in giving a rough estimate of how much your claim could be worth. However, they often fail to capture the wide range of information needed to accurately value your claim.
For this reason, we’ve created a table including the latest Judicial College Guidelines figures to show how much compensation may be awarded for a variety of injuries. Please be aware that this table is purely an example, and figures could vary.
|Mental Anguish||Severe||The individual is scared of impending death.||£4380|
|Foot Injuries||Amputation of both feet||Loss of ankle joint causes similar awards to loss of both lower legs.||£158,970 to £189,110|
|Foot Injuries||Amputation of One Foot||If the ankle joint is lost, it is treated similar to below knee amputation.||£78,800 to £102,890|
|Toe Injuries||Amputation of All Toes||How much of the forefoot is amputated will affect what award is appropriate within this bracket||£34,270 to £52,620|
|Toe Injuries||Amputation of the Great Toe||In the region of £29,380|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Serious||The injured person suffers permanent symptoms and cannot work or function at a pre-trauma level at all.||£56,180 to £94,470|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderate||Mostly recovered and remaining symptoms are not severe.||£7,680 to £21,730|
|Amputation of Arms||Loss of Both Arms||A person with full awareness is made helpless.||£225,960 to £281,520|
|Amputation of Arms||Above-Elbow Amputation||Short stumps may make prosthesis difficult, so the award will be higher. However, amputation through the elbow will give an award at the lower end of the bracket.||£102,890 to £122,860|
When you make a successful claim for compensation following medical negligence, your claim may be made up of two kinds of damages; general and special damages. General damages provide compensation for the mental and physical impact that the negligence has had on your health. The awarded bracket depends on how long treatment takes and how serious the repercussions are is.
Special damages give compensation for the financial effect your worsening health condition has had on your life. This can include things like the cost of treatment that you couldn’t get on the NHS or loss of earnings if you’ve had to take time off work. You must provide evidence, or you may not be able to receive special damages. Examples of financial evidence could be a payslip to prove you suffered a loss of earnings or an invoice for a course of treatment you underwent.
It’s important to note that when you make a claim for medical negligence, you will only be compensated for the effects that the negligence has had on you and not the impact of your condition overall. For instance, it could be the case that you would have had to take time off work or undergo treatment even if you received care of an acceptable standard. Your compensation will only reflect how much worse your condition was made by the negligence you experienced than it otherwise would have been.
A No Win No Fee agreement is a contractual agreement between you and your solicitor. It states that you’re not responsible for paying any of the fees your solicitor has spent working on your case if your claim fails. You also won’t be asked to pay them anything in order for them to start working on your case or while it’s ongoing.
If your case is successful, your lawyer will take a small, capped percentage of your compensation. This percentage will be agreed upon beforehand and ensures that you will always get the majority of the compensation awarded to you.
If you would like to know more about claiming on a No Win No Fee basis, why not get in touch with our team today? If one of our advisors feels your claim has a good chance of success, they could connect you with a lawyer from our panel.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team of advisers today if you have any more questions about anything mentioned in this guide. They will be happy to offer you free legal advice about your situation. If your claim is valid, they may be able to connect you with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.
To contact our team of advisers today, you can:
- Ring them on 0800 652 3087 to discuss your claim.
- Fill out our online claims form for a response at your earliest convenience.
- Talk with an adviser through our instant live chat pop-up box for a reply straight away.
The graph below includes statistics from Sepsistrust.org showing the number of people affected by sepsis, who die because of sepsis, and who suffer permanent effects from sepsis each year in the UK.
Of course, the instances of death and permanent effects outlined in this graph are not all related to instances of medical negligence. Sometimes sepsis can cause permanent injury or death even when healthcare professionals have provided care of an acceptable standard. But if you believe that you suffered a worsening condition because a healthcare professional breached their duty of care, you may be able to claim. Get in touch with our team to find out more.
Here we have included some extra articles to ensure you have as much information as possible.
Gall Bladder Surgery Medical Negligence Claims – Have you experienced medical negligence during gall bladder surgery? Our guide explores how you can receive compensation.
How To Claim For Cancer Misdiagnosis – If you’ve suffered a cancer misdiagnosis that was the result of a breach of duty of care, our article explains how you can make a medical negligence claim.
How To Claim Compensation For Placenta Left In Womb After Birth – Have you suffered medical negligence during childbirth and had the placenta left in your womb? You may be able to make a clinical negligence claim.
Symptoms Of Sepsis – This NHS article includes the symptoms of sepsis that you need to look out for.
Duties of a doctor– The general medical council provides guidance on good medical practice.
Amputation – Sepsis can sometimes result in an amputation, so this NHS guide includes information such as how amputations are done and why they may be needed.
Here are some frequently asked questions we receive about sepsis medical negligence claims.
Will I need a medical examination?
If you have sepsis, you will need to seek medical attention in order to receive a diagnosis and treatment. As part of your claim, a medical examination will determine how much your condition was contributed to by the medical negligence you experienced.
Will my solicitor need to see my records?
Your medical records can be used as evidence to prove the severity of your condition, the circumstances that led to it, and how long your treatment took. You can request to the court that your medical records not be included, but this can make claiming difficult and may result in your case being rejected.
How do I claim for my child?
If your child is under 18, you can become a litigation friend to claim on their behalf. If the claim is successful, the compensation money will go into a bank account for the child to access when they turn 18.
Thank you for reading this guide about sepsis medical negligence. We hope it has helped you understand how to claim medical negligence compensation.
Guide by Sophie
Edited by Fern