Sepsis arises when there is an infection in the body and for some unknown reason the immune system ceases to function properly and essentially turns on itself and this is considered the beginning of sepsis. It is considered a medical emergency and quick diagnosis and treatment is essential. If left untreated or if there is a delay in treatment, the sepsis can develop into severe sepsis and septic shock. Certain categories of people are known to be at higher risk of developing sepsis such as the very young, older people, people with chronic illness and those with a compromised immune system such as HIV infection. There are approximately 16,000 people in Ireland diagnosed each year with sepsis and one in five people who develop sepsis die from the condition and it is the 10th biggest cause of death worldwide. The main symptoms of sepsis can include an elevated heart rate, fever or hypothermia (low body temperature), a person shaking and perhaps clammy skin, confusion and either rapid breathing or shortness of breath. Sepsis is normally diagnosed through a blood test which will show up relevant abnormalities.
When is sepsis the result of medical negligence?
Firstly, it is important to understand that developing sepsis by itself is not necessarily medical negligence, however, if it is likely or it can be shown that the hospital failed to adhere to appropriate hygiene standards, which can increase the risk of sepsis, then the patient may well have a medical negligence claim. Cases we have seen generally involve poor hygiene on the part of the hospital staff in administering treatment such as medical instruments, failing to wash hands or replace surgical gloves and also placing patients too near other patients who are likely to pass on infection. In addition, negligence can often arise where the hospital fails to properly identify sepsis in a timely manner and as a consequence the condition was allowed to develop and progress and that delay has made worse the situation.
If you or a loved one have suffered harm because of medical negligence, then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. It is important you seek advice as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. We believe in putting you our client first and we are committed to achieving the best result possible while all the time remaining sensitive to your needs. Please feel free to reach out to us below and will be pleased to discuss your case and offer no obligation advice.
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