Clinical Negligence

Publish date

7 July 2023

Ask the question – Could it be sepsis?

Earlier this year actor Jason Watkins and his wife Clara Francis filmed an ITV documentary about the heart-breaking passing of their daughter Maud.  A stark reminder to all that sepsis remains a significant problem.

The UK Sepsis Trust is a charity that raises awareness of the condition and supports those who have been affected.  Sepsis is defined as a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

Around 40% of survivors of sepsis suffer at least one of a range of physical, cognitive and psychological symptoms.  It is not understood why some people suffer sepsis and others do not, but it is known that those who are very young or very old are more susceptible because of their weaker immune systems.

Symptoms of sepsis in children

Sepsis can be particularly difficult to recognise in small children who cannot use words to describe their symptoms.

A child may have sepsis if he or she:

  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a fit or convulsion
  • Looks mottled, blueish or pale
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

 Treatment of sepsis

The NHS website makes it clear that sepsis needs to be treated in a hospital straight away to prevent it from causing organ failure and antibiotics should be given within one hour of arriving at a hospital.

Sadly there are many cases that are reported in the press involving deaths that could have been avoided.

The Sepsis Trust advises anyone who observes symptoms to call 999, or go straight to A&E, and they ought to specifically ask the question “could it be sepsis?”

The charity also has useful resources to help spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis: About Sepsis | Sepsis Symptoms | The UK Sepsis Trust

As clinical negligence solicitors, we recognise the importance of asking the important question “could it be sepsis?” and urge everyone to be aware of the symptoms of this condition.

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