A damning report from Rob Behrens, the NHS ombudsman tasked with resolving complaints, has said that too many patients still die needlessly from sepsis because hospitals have not improved their treatment procedures.
Mr Behrens said that the same serious mistakes made a decade ago are still happening, despite a previous report in 2013 titled A Time to Act called for an overhaul of health services. Around 48,000 people in the UK die annually from sepsis, which occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to infection, attacking its own tissues and organs.
Failings in care include not listening to families' concerns, delays in delivering treatment, poor communication between healthcare staff and bad record keeping.
It is essential that sepsis is caught early to prevent death. As well as proving fatal, sepsis can mean that someone who survives loses limbs or lives with lifelong health conditions. A report from the University of Washington in 2020 estimated that more people now die globally from sepsis than cancer.
In March, coroner Dr Sean Cummings said he intended to issue a Prevention of Future Deaths (PFD) report to Milton Keynes Hospital following the management of our client's husband, Alex Blewit. Dr Cummings said that he was very concerned with the 'laissez faire' attitude of the A&E department regarding the management of Mr Blewitt. Read about the case.
In April 2021, Dr Cummings also issued a Preventing Future Deaths warning to the hospital following the death of 47-year-old Nicholas Rousseau after doctors did not follow sepsis guidance.
Several of my colleagues, including Helen Thompson, are currently representing at inquest the families of people who have died from sepsis.
I recently secured an admission of liability from North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of a client who had to have multiple toes and fingers amputated following near-fatal, undiagnosed sepsis at Peterborough City Hospital.
The Trust admitted that had proper care been provided, the claimant would have been diagnosed with pneumonia, admitted into hospital and treated with antibiotics. She would then not have suffered multi-organ failure and severe blood clots caused by septic shock, which led to necrosis of her fingers and toes.
Dr Ron Daniels, chief executive of The UK Sepsis Trust, said it was 'incredibly disheartening' to see the 'NHS continue to let down too many patients with sepsis'.
You can read more about our sepsis negligence claims and hear from clients.
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