Tragic cases reported in the media highlight the importance of the recognition and fast treatment of the “silent killer” sepsis, a Shropshire law firm said today.
It is estimated that there could be as many as 44,000 deaths a year from sepsis - a condition caused by the body’s over-reaction to infection.
The shock figures have prompted clinical negligence specialists at Shropshire law firm Lanyon Bowdler to raise concerns, saying many of the deaths could have been prevented with prompt diagnosis and immediate treatment.
Lucy Small, partner at Lanyon Bowdler, said: “Sepsis is known as the silent killer and is also known as blood poisoning or septicaemia. It means your body attacks its own organs and tissues.
“If not spotted and treated quickly, sepsis can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. Of the 44,000 deaths a year in the UK, up to 13,000 could have been avoided.
“Guidance has been provided by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in an effort to raise awareness of the importance, and need for fast treatment of, sepsis.
“This advice follows some prominent and tragic cases reported in the media where lives could have been saved.
“NICE highlights the need to ensure recognition and the appropriate treatment by referral to hospital in cases of suspected sepsis.”
In the early stages it is difficult to distinguish sepsis from symptoms of flu. The guidance from The Sepsis Trust is that if you have or have recently had a fever and develop any of the following symptoms don’t delay, call 999 and say you think this is sepsis:
*Slurred speech or confusion
*Extreme shivering or muscle pain
*Passing no urine (in 18 hours or a day)
*I know something is badly wrong with me
*Skin that is mottled, bluish or very pale
Lucy added: “If caught early, the outcome for patients is good. Even an hour can make the difference.
“It is appreciated that the symptoms can be vague, making it difficult to diagnose, but clinicians are being urged to be cautious and consider the possibility of sepsis early in the case of any patient being unwell with infection.
“GPs paramedics and hospital staff are being advised to ask the question ‘could this be sepsis?’ in much the same way that heart attack is at the forefront of thinking for patients with chest pain.
“NHS Improvement is also launching an initiative to tackle the issue specifically with children and to encourage parents to speak out in respects of their concerns regarding their child’s illness.”
Lanyon Bowdler has offices in Shrewsbury, Telford, Oswestry, Ludlow, Hereford and Bromyard, and has lawyers specialising across the range of legal disciplines. Visit the website for more information at www.lblaw.co.uk
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