It is hard to appreciate but one in 3 people who die in a hospital have sepsis. 13th September 2020 is World Sepsis Day. I saw an interview on the T.V. yesterday of a well-known and respected comedian who was talking about how he will be raising awareness of the dangers of sepsis and what we can do as a society to spot the signs and ensure the person affected gets immediate medical care and attention.
His daughter died some 10 years ago and was under age 5. He is going to be cycling this weekend to raise awareness so it got me thinking what can we do collectively as I have acted for families where their loved ones have been affected by Sepsis.
What is Sepsis? This occurs when the body has a severe infection. This is a life threatening medical emergency. This happens when a person already has an infection but this spreads to the rest of the body causing organs to go into septic shock. If the person does not receive timely treatment, sepsis can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death (www.cdc.gov).
What is the cause of Sepsis? This can be a bacterial infection but it can also be a complication of a viral infection such as Covid-19 or even flu.
Why is this serious? According to the UK Sepsis Trust, there are at least 245,000 cases in the UK every year which in a population of 66 million is quite staggering.
Of those affected with Sepsis, it is thought around 48,000 people die from sepsis. www.sepsistrust.org and about 80,000 people are left with life changing complications.
What are they symptoms? According to the NHS, symptoms include: feeling dizzy, confusion, diarrhoea, slurred speech, fever, severe breathlessness and infrequent urination. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis/
Who are more vulnerable to sepsis? Those more likely to get an infection are the elderly, those with diabetes, even those with Covid-19, those with a weakened immune system, premature babies, mother’s following difficult child birth.
How is sepsis treated? This can be with antibiotics and care in the intensive care unit as well as surgery to remove the infection. This condition can be serious and can result in a hospital stay. Recovering from sepsis will take time.
What to do if you suspect sepsis? Do not ignore the symptoms and seek immediate medical attention.
To conclude let’s raise awareness of this condition so people know what to do.
Help and information
The UK Sepsis Trust has some very helpful information on their website. www.sepsistrust.org . This charity works to help raise awareness, support those affected and to help stop preventable deaths. NHS England also has some helpful information see https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/have-you-heard-about-sepsis/
Author: Daxa Patel
Partner & Solicitor
IMD Solicitors LLP
16th September 2020.