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Sepsis – What is it & when may I have a Medical Negligence claim?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Sepsis is alarmingly widespread, and there’s even a World Sepsis Day that recognises this fact. But can you sue for getting sepsis?

Sepsis kills more people each year than breast, bowel, and prostate cancer combined. As a potentially life-threatening condition, it is something that people can get in a hospital, while under medical care.

When this occurs, there may then be grounds for making a medical negligence claim for sepsis.

What Causes Sepsis?

An infection triggers sepsis in the body, causing the immune system to overreact, leading to inflammation and swelling.

Any kind of infection can, potentially, cause sepsis, but the most common are infections in the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen and pelvis.

These infections can come from:

  • Appendicitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Cellulitis

And can be the result of:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Post-surgical infections

Developing these infections does not lead to sepsis automatically. But in some people, the immune system over-compensates, sending white blood cells across the body to fight the infection, causing widespread inflammation which can do more harm than the original infection.

Symptoms of sepsis include fever, chills, rapid heartbeat and rapid breathing. If the individual develops severe sepsis or goes into septic shock, they may experience dizziness, slurred speech, confusion, diarrhoea, vomiting, breathlessness, muscle pain or loss of consciousness.

This can happen within hours of sepsis developing.

When Can You Sue for Getting Sepsis?

There are two critical aspects in managing sepsis:

  • Diagnosing it
  • Treating it

Both these things need to happen quickly, to help prevent fatal complications.

Problems arise when the diagnosis of sepsis is too slow, or if there is a misdiagnosis of it. This may also lead to a delay in treating it.

Delays in sepsis diagnosis may leave the patient in a critical condition for a long time. Delays in treatment can cause death.

In some cases, these delays are the fault of medical professionals – doctors fail to diagnose it, or they fail to treat a patient with the essential urgency the condition demands.

This amounts to a breach in the duty of care towards a patient. If you have not received the appropriate level of care, or this applies to a loved one, you may be eligible to pursue a negligence claim and sue for getting sepsis.

Call us today on 0800 088 6004… an initial discussion costs nothing and you’ll be talking to one of the most experienced, specialist medical negligence teams in the region.

Neelam Yusaf


Neelam Yusaf


Neelam is a Solicitor within the Medical Negligence Team. The Team handles a wide range of Medical Negligence cases against NHS Hospital Trusts, General and Private Practitioners.