By Megan Webster. Last Updated 13th January 2023. Welcome to our guide on sepsis claims. Sepsis can sometimes be called blood poisoning or septicaemia. It happens when your immune system begins to damage your tissue and organs because it’s reacting too strongly to an infection.
In this guide, we’ll explain how you could contract sepsis as a result of medical negligence. Initially, we’ll look at what sepsis is and what constitutes negligent medical care. This guide will also explain how you could contract sepsis as the result of a breach of duty of care.
You can use the headings below to jump ahead to a section of your choice. If you have any questions about anything that we’ve touched upon in this guide, you may wish to have a conversation with an advisor, who can assess your claim for compensation.
From there, they may be able to connect you with a medical negligence lawyer from our panel, provided your claim is valid. To get in touch with us today, you can:
Select A Section
- What Is Sepsis?
- What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Sepsis?
- Who Is At Risk Of Developing Sepsis?
- When Could You Make A Sepsis Claim?
- Fatal Sepsis Claims
- Sepsis Compensation Payouts UK – Example Amounts
- Contact Us About No Win No Fee Sepsis Claims
- Find Out More About Sepsis Claims
Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening illness. However, because it has a range of different symptoms, it can be somewhat difficult to spot.
You can’t catch sepsis from coming into contact with someone with the condition. Instead, it occurs when your body overreacts to an infection, and your immune system begins to attack your organs and tissue. In some cases, sepsis can even be fatal.
It’s not always possible to prevent sepsis from developing. Some people, such as those with weakened immune systems, are more at risk of sepsis than others. However, in some cases, the negligence of a medical professional could cause you to develop this condition.
This could happen in a number of ways. For example, a doctor or nurse may expose you to an infection as the result of negligence which then develops into sepsis.
Alternatively, you might contract an infection in a manner that is not related to negligence. However, a healthcare provider might fail to spot the signs of sepsis or administer treatment incorrectly, because they’re acting in a negligent manner. If this is the case, and your health is negatively affected as a result, you may be able to claim.
Duty of Care
Every healthcare provider in the UK owes their patients a duty of care. This means that they need to administer a minimum standard of care. The duties of a doctor are outlined by the General Medical Council.
It’s important to note that just because medical treatment has resulted in your condition worsening, this does not mean that you would be eligible to make a claim. In some cases, your health might be negatively affected by the treatment you receive, even when the doctor is acting within the accepted standards of their profession.
For example, you might not be exhibiting symptoms that are typical of sepsis, meaning that your doctor is not able to diagnose you even when they do all they can to do so.
However, if you can show that the right level of care was not administered to you and that this directly led to you contracting an infection that led to sepsis or your condition worsening more than it would have if you’d gotten the right care, you may be able to claim.
As we have already mentioned, sepsis can cause a wide range of symptoms. These symptoms can also be similar to those of other conditions, like the flu or a chest infection.
Furthermore, sepsis might be more difficult to spot in those who have trouble communicating. This could include babies and young children, those with learning disabilities and people who have dementia.
Some of the symptoms of sepsis in older children and adults include:
- Confusion and slurred speech
- Skin, lips and tongue that are blue, pale or blotchy
- A rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is rolled over it
- Difficulty breathing
In babies and young children, additional symptoms might include:
- A cry that is not like their usual cry, for example, because it’s weak or high-pitched
- A lack of interest in feeding or other activities that they usually engage in
- Sleepiness, or difficulty waking
If you notice any of the symptoms above, you should call 999 or go to A&E.
If you, your child or someone you’re caring for exhibits any of the following symptoms, you should call 111, even if you’re not sure whether it’s sepsis:
- Not having urinated all day (or in the last 12 hours for babies and children)
- Vomiting or being unable to keep down food or milk
- A cut or wound that has swelling, pain and redness around it
- A very high or very low temperature
Anyone who contracts an infection can develop sepsis. However, there are certain groups that are more susceptible to contracting an infection that leads to sepsis. These include:
- Babies under the age of 1. This may particularly be the case if they were born premature or if their mother had an infection while carrying them.
- People over the age of 75
- Those with diabetes
- People with weakened immune systems
- Anyone who’s recently undergone surgery or has had a serious illness
- Women who have recently given birth, miscarried or had an abortion
It’s important to reiterate that anyone with an infection can develop sepsis, and it’s not always possible to avoid sepsis. However, if medical negligence has led to you contracting an infection or the signs of sepsis being ignored, leading to it worsening, then you could be entitled to claim.
For more information on the circumstances in which sepsis negligence claims could be justified, why not get in touch with one of our advisors today? You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to work on your claim.
In order to make a claim for sepsis, your condition must have been worsened as a result of negligence. If the doctor treating you acted within the standard of their profession, you would not be able to claim.
You also need to show that the negligence directly led to the decline in your health. You cannot claim compensation where a medical professional has breached the duty of care that they owe you but this has not had any impact on your health.
In order to claim, it would need to be established that the healthcare provider deviated from their professional standards and this caused you harm. For instance, you might undergo an operation where equipment that was not sanitised was used on you. This could result in you contracting an infection that leads to sepsis.
You might also experienc misdiagnosis or a delay in diagnosis. For example, you might be presenting at A&E with clear symptoms of sepsis that a doctor adhering to their professional standards would be expected to follow up. If the did not, and your condition got worse, then you may be able to claim.
For more information on whether you’re eligible to claim, speak to an advisor from our team today. They could connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel with experience in pursuing sepsis claims.
When you present at the hospital with sepsis, you should be given antibiotics within an hour. This is because sepsis can worsen quickly. If it does, and you don’t receive treatment, it can be fatal.
If a loved one has died from sepsis as a result of medical negligence, their dependents can claim on their behalf. This compensation awarded will cover the pain and suffering of the deceased loved one as well as the “loss of companionship” and financial impact their death will cause to the dependant(s).
For more information on accidental death sepsis claims, why not speak with a member of our team today? You could be connected with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel to work on your claim.
For successful medical negligence claims for sepsis, compensation payouts in the UK could include special and general damages.
Any of the financial losses you have suffered that were directly caused by being harmed by medical negligence could be compensated with special damages. Some of the things that special damages could compensate you for include:
- A loss of earnings, both past and future.
- Care costs if you required someone to care for you.
- Medical expenses.
- Travel costs to medical appointments.
You will need to provide evidence of these losses in your claim for special damages. Evidence could include payslips, invoices and bank statements.
General damages aim to compensate you for the harm you have suffered due to a medical professional breaching their duty of care. Using the figures in the 16th edition of the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), we created the following table. This is to help you gain a clearer idea of how much you could receive in general damages for a successful claim. We have used the figures listed in the JCG as it lists compensation brackets for different injuries. It is also used by various legal professionals, such as solicitors, to help them value claims.
|Kidney||Where both kidneys are seriously and permanently damaged or have been lost.||£169,400 to £210,400|
|Kidney||Where there's a significant risk of the natural function of the kidney being lost. or of developing a UTI.||Up to £63,980|
|Kidney||Where one of the kidneys is lost, but there's no damage to the other.||£30,770 to £44,880|
|Bowels||Where natural bowel and urinary functions have been lost alongside other medical complications,||Up to £184,200|
|Bowels||Where the natural function has been lost and the claimant is dependent on colostomy.||Up to £150,110|
|Bowels||Faecal urgency and passive incontinence that that has persisted after surgery.||In the region of £79,920|
|Bladder||Where function and control of the bladder has been completely lost.||Up to £140,660|
|Bladder||Where the bladders control has been seriously impaired, with some pain and incontinence.||£63,980 to £79,930|
|Spleen||Where the spleen is lost and the risk of infection is ongoing because the immune system has been damaged.||£20,800 to £26,290|
|Spleen||Where there is none or minimal risk of internal infections or damage to the immune system.||£4,350 to £8,640|
Please only use the above table as a guide. How much compensation you could receive will be affected by the various factors of your particular claim.
Contact one of our friendly advisors today if you have any questions regarding sepsis claims.
A No Win No Fee agreement is a kind of agreement that sets out the conditions that you need to meet before your solicitor asks you to pay for their services. Under this kind of agreement, you won’t be asked to pay them anything up front or while the claim is ongoing. It also means you don’t pay any solicitor fees if the case loses.
If your claim is successful, your solicitor will deduct a success fee from your compensation. This is legally capped, meaning that you receive the majority of the compensation you’re awarded. If this sounds appealing, get in touch by:
Why not check out more of our medical negligence guides?
- A guide to medical negligence claims
- How long does a medical negligence case take?
- Do I need to work with medical negligence solicitors near me?
- Claim compensation for being starved of oxygen at birth
- How much money can you get for medical negligence?
- Can I sue my doctor for negligence?
Meanwhile, the NHS has guidance on sepsis.
Read this document for information on preventing hospital infections.
Find out how to complain to the NHS.
Thank you for reading our guide on sepsis claims.
Article by AR