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Could it be sepsis? The question all clinicians should ask

13.07.2016

The new NICE guidelines published today are a positive step forward for future victims of sepsis. Following high profile campaigns by families such as William Mead’s and organisations like the Sepsis Trust, it’s beyond doubt that a change in how medical professionals treat sepsis is due.

NICE now recommends sepsis should be treated as the same level of emergency as a heart attack. That means asking, whether in a GP surgery or a hospital ward, ‘could this be sepsis?’ and doing so early.

Always consider sepsis

Although the early warning signs of sepsis are similar to symptoms of many viral and bacterial infections, NICE’s guidance is absolutely clear: doctors should always consider the possibility of sepsis first, in the same way they would treat chest pain as an indication of a heart attack.

This means sending the patient to hospital in an ambulance, where diagnosis and treatment of sepsis can take place.

This new advice on sepsis should go some way to reducing the 44,000 fatalities caused by the condition each year. Experts estimate that between 5,000 and 13,000 sepsis deaths could be avoided annually by better, earlier intervention.

Richard Harries, clinical negligence solicitor and head of Barcan+Kirby’s personal and medical injuries team, commented:

“These new guidelines should be welcomed by all – they will save lives and avoid the life-changing damage to families caused by negligence.

I have represented individuals and their families where there has been negligence in a failure to appreciate the signs and symptoms of sepsis – as a result I know how devastating sepsis can be.”

Further information

To find out more about what sepsis is and how it should be treated, please visit our sepsis information page. If you or your family have been affected by a sepsis misdiagnosis, our specialist clinical negligence solicitors may be able to help.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in sepsis compensation claims and are happy to discuss your case with you in confidence. To speak to one of them, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.

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