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Could it be sepsis? How to avoid delay in diagnosis

By Nick Gray, Solicitor & Head of Clinical Negligence Department

Nick GrayWhen listening to BBC Five Live on 4 July, I was struck by the story of John who had undergone an above knee amputation after developing sepsis.  John wants to raise awareness of this deadly infection and get everyone thinking about it when they develop certain symptoms[1].  As he said, just asking the question “could it be sepsis” is so important if it leads to an earlier diagnosis.

Sepsis (also known as septicaemia) is a life-threatening condition triggered by an infection or injury.  It can occur without warning or after only a minor injury.  In John’s case he knocked his leg at Cheltenham racecourse and his symptoms developed over the following days.  Without an awareness of sepsis it’s often easy to overlook this diagnosis until it’s too late.  Sadly, this reflects John’s experience and he was initially diagnosed with cellulitis (a skin infection) but the doctor marked the extent of the rash on his leg with a pen.  Although the rash did not spread, this action made John aware that something else might be happening and when he returned to hospital 2 days later the diagnosis of sepsis was eventually made.  By this time John described feeling as if he was going to die because of the severity of his symptoms. Despite starting antibiotic treatment this could not prevent the tissue damage to his leg and an above knee amputation was subsequently necessary.

Williamsons Solicitors - Clinical NegligenceSpeed of diagnosis of sepsis is crucial and this will influence the outcome.  NHS Guidelines require treatment within 1 hour of suspected sepsis, but this deadline is often missed.  Any delay in treatment may make the difference between life and death or more extensive tissue damage resulting in amputation and other major surgery.  At Williamsons Solicitors we’ve supported numerous clients with legal claims arising from a delayed diagnosis of sepsis or infections.  The consequences of this are often serious and we help them to secure the rehabilitation they require and a financial settlement.  You are in safe hands with us and we can get answers to all the questions you have.

If you would like to investigate the care that you, or a family member, have received, please contact our Clinical Negligence department on 0800 298 6013 or complete the contact form below for expert legal advice.

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[1] Symptoms of sepsis include: fever/chills, very low body temperature, passing urine less than normal, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, nausea/vomiting and diarrhoea.

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In May 2017 after a long & painful road of recovery wich is still ongoing today. I finally plucked up the courage & decided to approach Willams Solicitors as I felt that there was something very wrong with the poor service i received in March 2015 from 1 1 1. Having made two calls over the weekend. Inspite of right leg being in immense pain & stone cold I was told that i had probably pulled a muscle nothing they could do for me & to visit my GP So after a weekend of struggling with pain i visited my GP to be rushed to Hospital with absent pulses in the right foot. On examination there was a blood clot on my right knee caused by Critical ischaemia nothing whatsoever to do with a pulled muscle. I was told i needed a thrombosis procedure to dissolve blood clot if this was unsuccessful they would have no other choice than to amputate below the right knee I was devastated Thanks to this amazing solicitors who advised me that they felt 1 1 1 had possibly been neglectful & would like to take my case on. With an outstanding Nick Gray becoming my solicitor & the amazing team of experts including Julian Matthews an absolutely brilliant barrister Vascular surgeons experts Professor sir Peter Bell & Professor Shearman who were also amazing in highlighting the Hospital were neglectful as well & need not of removed my leg & could have avoided amputation. All of the other team of experts who helped with this case as well were very good In fact I had a fantastic team i couldn't fault Williams solicitors at all. They proved all 3 defendants to be negligent & they got me an amazing settlement far more than I could ever dreamed of & in a short space of time A huge thanks to Nick Gray & his fantastic team inside & outside Williams I can start rebuilding my life knowing I can afford to have & get the very best in making life a lot easier. I can't have my leg back but I can now smile again knowing life won't be a struggle. I would strongly recommend this Solicitors to anybody who needs a professional honest caring & worth every penny Solicitor you will not be disappointed. Once again a massive Thank you to Nick Gray & all his team ❤ Sue Willoughby

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