In a welcome development, hospital patients displaying signs of life-threatening sepsis must be seen by a senior doctor within an hour, under new guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Those classed as high risk must also receive intravenous fluids and antibiotics.
The new guidance
states that clinicians in any setting, but specifically accident and emergency departments or GP practices, should check patients presenting with suspected sepsis for specific signs that determine whether their symptoms are life-threatening.
As a medical negligence solicitor, I have seen first-hand the irreversible damage sepsis can cause.
I am currently pursuing a successful case for a young girl, who lost her legs after her father was twice turned away from hospital. Eventually admitted to hospital on the third visit, by this time she was suffering from septicaemic shock and multiple organ failure, and it was too late for doctors to save her legs. Her left leg had to be removed above the knee, while her right leg was amputated below the knee.
The girl, now aged 9, successfully sued the hospital through her father and judgment has now been entered for damages to be assessed.
Every year 44,000 people in the UK are killed by sepsis.
While 100,000 survive the condition each year, many are left with serious long-term complications, such as irreversible damage to lungs, heart, kidneys and brain, and limb amputations.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be running a series of blogs on sepsis and its warning signs.