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Sepsis Misdiagnosis Claims

Failure to diagnose sepsis or septic arthritis can have life-changing consequences.

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I am very happy and satisfied with the settlement you achieved for me and the service was excellent and thank you very much

Mrs E.Swaffield
Loughborough

Making a claim for sepsis

Sepsis is a serious complication of an infection that can prove fatal and have long-term implications if the symptoms are not quickly recognised as being caused by sepsis. Delayed treatment and misdiagnosis in sepsis cases can have a serious impact,  at the very least cause patients unnecessary stress, pain and suffering and in the most serious of cases, it can mean amputation, organ failure, or even death.

If you believe that you or a family member did not receive the appropriate level of care, leading to avoidable harm you may be able to claim sepsis misdiagnosis compensation. Having suffered already, making the decision to begin a compensation claim can be difficult. A medical negligence investigation can help you to understand what happened and by bringing it to the attention of the Hospital or Hospital Trust may prevent it from happening again to anyone else.

Your Legal Friend is experienced in resolving many different types of clinical negligence cases and could support you or your family member too. Our specialist team of medical negligence lawyers can work for you right from the beginning of the process to ensure that a proper investigation is done.

Knowing that you have suffered due to medical negligence can leave you feeling vulnerable and searching for answers. While no amount of compensation can eliminate the stress and changes being misdiagnosed or inadequately treated has caused, it can ensure they you understand what has happened and secure you financial support for additional treatment or specialist equipment that may be needed.

Reaching out to talk to someone about your injury and claiming compensation can be a difficult step to take but seeking legal advice can lift some of the weight off your shoulders. Your Legal Friend will be able to guide you every step of the way, offering you advice and support as your case progresses.

Making a claim for septic arthritis

Septic arthritis is a rare but dangerous condition caused by bacteria leading to inflammation in a joint. In most cases, effective treatment can minimise the risks and complications. But those that experience misdiagnosis can be left with life-altering complications and in some cases, the condition can even prove fatal.

It’s never easy to undergo treatment for a potentially fatal condition but where misdiagnosis has occurred it can leave patients feeling vulnerable and unsure of who they can trust. For those that have been affected by medical negligence, they may be able to make a claim for compensation, reflecting how those responsible for their care have let them down. We understand that having been affected by medical negligence, deciding to take a compensation case forward can be the last thing on your mind. But doing so can help you move forward.

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Our medical negligence team has years of experience working on a wide variety of misdiagnosis cases so we understand just how difficult a decision it can be to bring a sepsis case.Sepsis misdiagnosis claims team

That’s why we are committed to guiding you through every step of the process. We ensure that your claim is handled carefully and professionally by our specialist solicitors, while working alongside medical experts, to guarantee the best results for you.

Our medical misdiagnosis team is headed by Laura Morgan who has a wealth of experience in leading complicated, high-value sepsis cases.

Laura is recognised within the legal profession as a leader in the field of medical negligence and serious injury compensation. Laura has acted in a wide range of cases over her 17 years of practice and has particular expertise in acting for children who have suffered brain injury due to mismanaged birth or surgical errors, and in managing claims that have resulted in the death of a loved one. Laura has achieved a number of large settlements including £5.4 million for a 7-year-old and £4 million for an 11-year-old child.

Laura’s expertise and dedication to her clients is recognised in the Chambers guide to the Legal Profession in which she was praised for the efficiency of her approach to case handling and described as “tenacious and detail-oriented”.

Laura has been a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel since 2005 and accredited as a Senior Litigator in the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) since 2006. Laura is also a member of the specialist lawyers panel for Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA), the UK’s leading charity committed to patient safety and justice.

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The effects of medical negligence can be devastating for the individual and their families, so securing appropriate compensation for them as quickly as possible is our top priority.

Laura Morgan

Director of Medical Negligence

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10 simple steps to claim

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1
Obtaining your medical records
Step
2
Providing your statement of what happened
Step
3
Minimising your loss
Step
4
Establishing that a breach of duty occurred
Step
5
Estabilishing the effect of the breach of duty
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Preparing your case for CourtCalculating the value of your claim
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Proving your loss
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Calculating the value of your claimPreparing your case for Court
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Attending the trial in Court
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Awarding your compensation claim

Your questions... answered

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a rare but very serious complication of an infection. It requires quick treatment and can cause multiple organ failure and death where this isn’t delivered swiftly.

Over 100,000 people are infected by sepsis every year in the UK. It’s a life-threatening illness that can be triggered by an infection anywhere in the body.

How can sepsis be misdiagnosed?

Sepsis is most commonly misdiagnosed through the symptoms either being misinterpreted or the severity of the signs not being fully assessed. When you visit your doctor or a hospital with concerns you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to take the necessary steps to achieve an accurate diagnosis.

If, for example, tests to diagnose sepsis were not conducted despite you presenting the symptoms of the condition, you may be able to take forward a misdiagnosed sepsis lawsuit. You will need to prove that a medical professional missed an opportunity to diagnose you for a doctor misdiagnosed sepsis claim to be successful.

What conditions can sepsis be misdiagnosed as?

The symptoms of sepsis can often be mistaken for other conditions, some of which may not require urgent treatment and leading to a delay in vital treatment being delivered. Wrong diagnosis of sepsis can have a detrimental effect on the impact that treatment will have once delivered.

Conditions that sepsis may be misdiagnosed as include:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Acute appendicitis
  • Iron poisoning
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Muscle strain

Can I claim for a sepsis misdiagnosis?

If you believe you or a family member were not treated adequately when in hospital suffering a delay in diagnosis of sepsis you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence. Sepsis misdiagnosis claims must show that medical negligence occurred and it resulted in an avoidable injury.

Missed diagnosis

If you attended a doctor’s appointment or visited a hospital presenting the signs of sepsis you have the right to expect that medical professionals will deal with you appropriately and this can include ordering the necessary tests to give an accurate diagnosis. Sepsis misdiagnosis compensation claims will arise if the level of care you received was below an acceptable standard, leading to a missed diagnosis.

Incorrect treatment after diagnosis

Fast and efficient treatment is key to treating sepsis. If you’ve received delayed or ineffective treatment following a diagnosis or treatment was not given quickly enough despite the severity of your case, you may have a clinical negligence claim that could result in compensation.

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How much sepsis misdiagnosis compensation will I get?

Misdiagnosed sepsis cases are all unique and this is reflected in the amount of compensation that each patient receives. As a result, it’s impossible to say just how much misdiagnosis of sepsis compensation you could receive without first taking the time to understand your individual case.

We’ll take the time to fully listen to your experiences, allowing us to place a value on your claim that reflects how you’ve been affected. We take a wide variety of areas into consideration when creating your misdiagnosis of sepsis claim value, from the impact on your long-term health to loss of earnings you may have experienced.

How long do I have to make a sepsis claim?

If you would like to make a sepsis misdiagnosis lawsuit having experienced medical negligence, you must act within three years. After this time limit, you will not be able to hold those responsible to account for the suffering you experienced.

The start of this timeframe is from the ‘date of knowledge’ rather than when you first sought medical help. This means that you have three years from when you first realised that mistakes had been made in your level of care. Often in sepsis cases, the condition develops quickly but it can still be confusing when you’re trying to pinpoint exactly when the ‘date of knowledge’ happened. If you’re unsure but would like to claim for sepsis misdiagnosis, our team of experts can help you. Using our experience of supporting those affected by medical negligence we’ll help you understand exactly how long you have to act.

While you do have up to three years to make sepsis misdiagnosis claims, we advise our clients to act as soon as possible. This not only helps you to move forward quickly but it can support case, such as gathering witness statements and evidence, too.

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What causes sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by an infection in the body. Usually, your body’s immune system will effectively fight an infection but if it’s already weakened or an infection is severe it can spread through the blood to other parts of the body. In response, the immune system can go into overdrive, with inflammation affecting the entire body that can damage tissue and interfere with blood flow. This effect can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, preventing oxygen from travelling around the body as normal.

An infection in any part of the body can trigger sepsis but it’s most commonly caused by infections that start in the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen, and pelvis.

While anyone can be affected by sepsis there are certain factors that can increase your risk, including:

  • Recently having surgery
  • Immune weakening conditions, such as HIV or leukaemia
  • Having treatment that weakens the immune systems, including chemotherapy and long-term steroids
  • Age – being very young or very old can increase your risk
  • Pregnancy
  • Receiving wounds or injuries through an accident
  • Having drips or catheters attached to the skin
  • Being on mechanical ventilation
  • Long-term health conditions, including diabetes
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What are the symptoms of sepsis?

There are lots of symptoms of sepsis but the early signs can be missed by individuals who don’t know what they are looking for. The early symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • A high temperature
  • Chills and shivering
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing

If the condition remains untreated it can develop into more severe sepsis or septic shock, when the blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level.

In serious cases symptoms can include:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • A change of mental state, such as confusion or disorientation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Less urine production than normal
  • Cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • Loss of consciousness

Individuals should seek medical advice if they’ve recently experienced an infection or injury and are showing the early signs of sepsis. If the serious symptoms of sepsis are present it should be treated as a medical emergency.

Due to the early warning signs of sepsis being relatively mild and mimicking other, less serious, conditions, it is possible for GP misdiagnosis sepsis to occur. Sepsis misdiagnosis stories highlight just how severe the consequences of delayed diagnosis can be, with some instances proving fatal for the patient involved.

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How is sepsis diagnosed?

Initially, sepsis is often diagnosed based on simple measurements, such as temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate, as well as the symptoms you are presenting. A blood test can also be used to identify blood poisoning and signal that treatment is needed.

Once you’ve been diagnosed other tests are typically conducted. These tests aim to determine the type of infection, where it is located, and how it has affected your body’s functions, allowing treatment to be tailored to your condition.

Tests that may be conducted include:

  • Urine or stool sampled
  • A wound culture
  • Respiratory secretion testing
  • Blood pressure tests
  • X-ray or CT scan

A delay in sepsis diagnosis can have a significant impact on the outlook of treatment. As a result, a quick diagnosis process and healthcare professionals that pick up on the signs of sepsis can have a big impact on prognosis.

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How is sepsis treated?

If sepsis is caught during the early stages, it is relatively easy to treat. If you are showing signs of sepsis you will usually be referred to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment to begin.

Treatment involves taking antibiotics, giving fluids intravenously and giving oxygen if levels are low. Due to the serious nature of sepsis treatment should begin within an hour of diagnosis to limit the possibility of the infection worsening. Medical professionals should also undertake tests to assess the severity of sepsis and identify the type of bacteria causing the condition.

If you’re experiencing severe sepsis or develop septic shock, emergency hospital treatment will be needed and, in some cases, you could require admission to an intensive care unit.

Due to the problems severe sepsis can cause with vital organs, those experiencing the condition are likely to become very ill and it can prove fatal. However, it is treatable and in the majority of cases the signs are identified quickly and patients go on to make a full recovery with no long-term problems. Where late sepsis diagnosis has occurred, it can mean the likelihood of complications occurring are more likely, with patients taking longer to recover and potentially learning to live with life-changing consequences.

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What are the complications of misdiagnosed sepsis?

While in the majority of cases the signs of sepsis and blood infections are spotted quickly, where this doesn’t occur it can prove fatal. A delay in diagnosis of sepsis can also result in treatment being significantly setback, meaning that patients may be left dealing with lifelong conditions associated with misdiagnosed sepsis, including:

Amputation

Sepsis causes your body’s blood clotting mechanism to go into overdrive, potentially causing blockages inside the blood vessels. This means that oxygen and vital nutrients may not be able to get to some areas of the body, leading to tissue death. When undiagnosed sepsis is allowed to continue developing conditions such as gangrene can also emerge, leading to the need for amputations. In some cases, this will mean losing fingers or toes but it can mean patients need a limb amputating in order to save their life, significantly impacting on their future.

Permanent organ damage

Sepsis can lead to serious organ failure if not caught quickly and even when treated it can mean living with life-changing conditions. For patients affected by wrong sepsis diagnosis, this means the need to adapt their lifestyle to cope with the long-term implications. For example, sepsis can lead to kidney failure requiring lifelong dialysis treatment.

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How often is sepsis misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official sepsis misdiagnosis statistics but a study has shown that poor levels of NHS care are contributing to the startling high fatalities that occur from sepsis.

The research from 2013, which looked at the effects of delayed treatment, found that almost 13,000 patients die needlessly every year from severe infections. Missed sepsis diagnosis and delays in treatment being delivered meant that opportunities to save lives were being missed, the study concluded. Problems that were highlighted included lack of early diagnosis, failure to recognise severity, delays in treatment, and delay in the control of the infection. Patients that have encountered these problems when suffering from an infection may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim to reflect how they have been let down by the healthcare system.

Case studies of misdiagnosis of sepsis have been the news, demonstrating the impact medical negligence can have when it comes to blood poisoning. Sepsis misdiagnosis cases include:

  • A mother securing compensation after misdiagnosis led to her being placed on life support following deadly blood poisoning spreading to her heart, lungs and brain.
  • A man being misdiagnosed with the flu when he had sepsis, the delay in treatment led to him being hospitalised for three months.
  • A death of a pensioner was labelled as avoidable after experiencing systemic sepsis that was not treated effectively.
  • A six-year-old that died from sepsis after being sent home from hospital with chicken pox. A report found she could have been saved if her condition was diagnosed when she first went to hospital.
  • A six-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome dying after medical professionals failed to recognise the severity of sepsis symptoms.
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What are the statistics on sepsis?

Despite being a well-known and life-threatening condition, sepsis is often underestimated by the general public. According to NHS figures, it’s estimated that every year more than 100,000 in the UK are admitted to hospital with sepsis. As a result of the condition around 31,000 people die annually in the UK, highlighting how dangerous blood poisoning can be and the need for effective treatment.

A delayed diagnosis of sepsis can mean the chances of making a full recovery are more limited. Every year more people die from sepsis in the UK than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined and it’s the biggest direct cause of death in UK pregnancies.

What is septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis may also be known as infectious arthritis as it is caused by a bacterial infection. It causes inflammation around the joint, often resulting in severe pain, and can affect any joint in the body, although it’s most commonly affects the knees or hips. Where effective treatment is given, most sufferers of septic arthritis make a full recovery with no lasting damage. However, where treatment isn’t delivered it has the potential to cause permanent joint damage and become life-threatening.

What causes septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis can affect both adults and children. The condition is usually caused by bacteria that are spread through the bloodstream but it may also enter the body through an open wound or opening following surgery.

There are several different types of bacteria that can cause septic arthritis, most commonly staphylococcal bacteria and streptococcal bacteria. In addition to bacteria causing septic arthritis, there are risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of contracting the condition.

These include:

  • Having joint surgery, allowing the bacteria to enter through the opening
  • Having a bacterial infection somewhere else in the body, which can then travel to the joint through the bloodstream
  • Some long-term conditions have been linked to an increased risk, including diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Using injected drugs
  • Taking medication that suppresses the immune system
  • Recently injuring a joint
  • Septic arthritis is also more common in young children and elderly adults
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What are the symptoms of septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis is where a joint becomes inflamed due to a bacterial infection and generally, the symptoms will come on rapidly, sometimes developing over just a few hours. Intense pain, swelling, redness, and heat in the affected joints are the most common signs of septic arthritis.

Other signs of septic arthritis may include:

  • Difficulty in moving the affected joint
  • A high temperature
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

When it occurs in young children, they will often become irritable and may avoid using or putting weight on the affected limb.

Septic arthritis can be a serious condition and it’s important that those with the symptoms attend a GP appointment or go to A&E as soon as possible. A delay in septic arthritis diagnosis can mean that those suffering will have to live with the complications of the condition for the rest of their lives as it’s crucial that effective treatment is delivered. There are misdiagnosed septic arthritis cases that demonstrate the need for accurate and rapid diagnosis.

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Can I claim for misdiagnosed septic arthritis?

If you experienced misdiagnosed septic arthritis, you may be able to make a claim. Successful cases demonstrate that there was both an opportunity to accurately diagnose the condition and that the medical negligence experienced led to undue suffering.

There are a number of ways you can show that your wrong diagnosis of septic arthritis was due to medical negligence. For example, you could show that:

  • There was a failure to diagnose septic arthritis after your GP missed the symptoms of the condition
  • If you were not referred to A&E despite presenting the signs of septic arthritis
  • The necessary tests were not ordered to achieve a diagnosis
  • Your test results were read incorrectly
  • You presented the symptoms of septic diagnosis but tests were negative and other tests were not ordered
  • There was an unnecessary delay in your care

Septic arthritis can have serious long-term complications that can severely affect a person’s quality of life and even be life-threatening. To support a compensation case against those responsible, you will need to demonstrate that undue suffering was caused. This can take several forms, such as the unnecessary pain felt due to a delay in treatment or experiencing a long-term complication that means you now have to live with a disability.

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Can I claim if my child experienced misdiagnosed septic arthritis?

Septic arthritis is most common in young children and elderly and if your child has been affected you may be able to make a compensation claim on their behalf.

In children, septic arthritis is most common in the hips. Long-term complications of septic arthritis can have a huge effect on quality of life, for instance limiting mobility. When you take your child to your doctors or local hospital with concerns you should be able to rely on those responsible for their care to take the necessary steps to achieve a quick, accurate diagnosis. Septic arthritis misdiagnosis cases not only mean that children are in pain and uncomfortable for longer but can increase the likelihood of complications occurring.

If you would like to make a claim for septic arthritis malpractice for your child, you will still need to follow the same process, such as demonstrating that medical negligence caused undue suffering and do so within the timeframe to make medical claims – three years.

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How is septic arthritis diagnosed?

Often when experiencing joint pain, a person will make an appointment with their GP. However, if your symptoms indicate that they could be caused by septic arthritis, your GP will immediately refer you to an A&E department for further testing.

Those undergoing an assessment for septic arthritis will have a blood test and a sample of fluid removed from the affected joint. These tests will examine whether inflammation and infection is present and identify bacteria that may be present. However, these tests aren’t always accurate and it is possible for them to return a negative result even when septic arthritis is to blame for the symptoms.

An x-ray or MRI scan may also be used to assess the extent of the joint damage that septic arthritis may have caused.

A delayed diagnosis of septic arthritis can seriously harm a patient’s prognosis and increase the likelihood of complications occurring. A quick diagnosis often relies on first the GP recognising the signs and then acting to make a referral to an A&E department. Where this doesn’t happen it can mean that GP misdiagnosis septic arthritis occurs. But a delay in diagnosis of septic arthritis can also occur if the necessary test results aren’t followed up or if the results of a test come back negative, despite symptoms, and the signs aren’t investigated further.

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What are the complications of septic arthritis?

Complications of septic arthritis can often be minimised or the risk reduced through administering the necessary treatment but where septic arthritis misdiagnosis has occurred this can lead to the risks increasing. A late septic arthritis diagnosis can mean that vital treatment is delayed, which in turn can lead to joint degeneration and, in some cases, permanent damage to the affected joint.

Complications that can be caused by septic arthritis include:

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that is caused by bacteria and it can have serious complications if not treated adequately, including gangrene and the need for amputation in rare circumstances. It can occur when an infection spreads to the bone via the bloodstream and presents similar symptoms to septic arthritis.

Bony erosions

Bony erosions is the term for the loss of bone from disease processes. In cases of misdiagnosis of septic arthritis where treatment has been delayed, it is possible for bony erosions to occur due to the condition.

Fibrous ankylosis

Fibrous ankylosis affects the connective tissue, fusing together two bones. It can result in reduced mobility when it affects joints.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a potential complication of an infection, including septic arthritis. It is rare but very serious and can lead to multiple organ failure and death quickly if it isn’t diagnosed and treated swiftly.

Death

Due to the potential complications of septic arthritis, including sepsis, it is possible for the condition to be fatal. As a result, the wrong septic arthritis diagnosis can have serious implications for those involved and should be treated quickly.

The potentially life-altering and life-threatening complications mean that those affected by a missed septic arthritis diagnosis may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim, reflecting the undue suffering their level of care has caused.

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What conditions can septic arthritis be misdiagnosed as?

Occasionally, it is possible for doctor misdiagnosed septic arthritis to occur. Some of the symptoms of septic arthritis can mimic other conditions, leading to undiagnosed septic arthritis and a delay in the delivery of treatment.

Some of the conditions that septic arthritis may wrongly be labelled as include:

  • Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Adult Still’s disease
  • Lyme disease

How often is septic arthritis misdiagnosed?

There aren’t any official septic arthritis claims misdiagnosis statistics. However, while rare there are cases of septic arthritis misdiagnosis occurring in the UK.

While not specific to septic arthritis, previous research has indicated that as many as one in six patients treated by the NHS are initially misdiagnosed because medical professionals are too quick to judge a patient’s symptoms.

How common is septic arthritis?

  • 45% of septic arthritis sufferers are over 65 years old and are more likely to have multiple diseases
  • 56% of septic arthritis patients are male.
  • Between 1.5 and 2.5% of joint infections are caused by an increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms during a first procedure.
  • Up to 20% of joint infections are caused by an increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms during further procedures
  • At least 2 – 10% of patients fitted with a prosthetic limb suffer prosthetic joint infection (PJI)  
  • There are an estimated 20,000 cases of acute bacterial arthritis per year in both the US and Europe

Do I have grounds for a septic arthritis negligence claim?

If you or a member of your family suffered harm due to a medical error, you need to know why you were so badly let down by those entrusted to take care of you.  For example, 

  • If a doctor, GP or hospital fails or delays in diagnosing and treating septic arthritis, or
  • If you or a loved one suffered complications from the diagnosis and/or treatment of septic arthritis, which led to a preventable amputation.

To prove a successful clinical negligence claim you need to:

  • Show that the treatment you received fell below a standard that a reasonable body of medical opinion would find acceptable. 
  • Establish that if there had not been a ‘breach of duty’, the damage or injury would not have occurred.

Sepsis is a rare but very serious complication of an infection. It requires quick treatment and can cause multiple organ failure and death where this isn’t delivered swiftly.

Over 100,000 people are infected by sepsis every year in the UK. It’s a life-threatening illness that can be triggered by an infection anywhere in the body.

Sepsis is most commonly misdiagnosed through the symptoms either being misinterpreted or the severity of the signs not being fully assessed. When you visit your doctor or a hospital with concerns you should be able to rely on those responsible for your care to take the necessary steps to achieve an accurate diagnosis.

If, for example, tests to diagnose sepsis were not conducted despite you presenting the symptoms of the condition, you may be able to take forward a misdiagnosed sepsis lawsuit. You will need to prove that a medical professional missed an opportunity to diagnose you for a doctor misdiagnosed sepsis claim to be successful.

The symptoms of sepsis can often be mistaken for other conditions, some of which may not require urgent treatment and leading to a delay in vital treatment being delivered. Wrong diagnosis of sepsis can have a detrimental effect on the impact that treatment will have once delivered.

Conditions that sepsis may be misdiagnosed as include:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Acute appendicitis
  • Iron poisoning
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Muscle strain

If you believe you or a family member were not treated adequately when in hospital suffering a delay in diagnosis of sepsis you may be able to make a claim for medical negligence. Sepsis misdiagnosis claims must show that medical negligence occurred and it resulted in an avoidable injury.

Missed diagnosis

If you attended a doctor’s appointment or visited a hospital presenting the signs of sepsis you have the right to expect that medical professionals will deal with you appropriately and this can include ordering the necessary tests to give an accurate diagnosis. Sepsis misdiagnosis compensation claims will arise if the level of care you received was below an acceptable standard, leading to a missed diagnosis.

Incorrect treatment after diagnosis

Fast and efficient treatment is key to treating sepsis. If you’ve received delayed or ineffective treatment following a diagnosis or treatment was not given quickly enough despite the severity of your case, you may have a clinical negligence claim that could result in compensation.

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Misdiagnosed sepsis cases are all unique and this is reflected in the amount of compensation that each patient receives. As a result, it’s impossible to say just how much misdiagnosis of sepsis compensation you could receive without first taking the time to understand your individual case.

We’ll take the time to fully listen to your experiences, allowing us to place a value on your claim that reflects how you’ve been affected. We take a wide variety of areas into consideration when creating your misdiagnosis of sepsis claim value, from the impact on your long-term health to loss of earnings you may have experienced.

If you would like to make a sepsis misdiagnosis lawsuit having experienced medical negligence, you must act within three years. After this time limit, you will not be able to hold those responsible to account for the suffering you experienced.

The start of this timeframe is from the ‘date of knowledge’ rather than when you first sought medical help. This means that you have three years from when you first realised that mistakes had been made in your level of care. Often in sepsis cases, the condition develops quickly but it can still be confusing when you’re trying to pinpoint exactly when the ‘date of knowledge’ happened. If you’re unsure but would like to claim for sepsis misdiagnosis, our team of experts can help you. Using our experience of supporting those affected by medical negligence we’ll help you understand exactly how long you have to act.

While you do have up to three years to make sepsis misdiagnosis claims, we advise our clients to act as soon as possible. This not only helps you to move forward quickly but it can support case, such as gathering witness statements and evidence, too.

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Sepsis is caused by an infection in the body. Usually, your body’s immune system will effectively fight an infection but if it’s already weakened or an infection is severe it can spread through the blood to other parts of the body. In response, the immune system can go into overdrive, with inflammation affecting the entire body that can damage tissue and interfere with blood flow. This effect can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, preventing oxygen from travelling around the body as normal.

An infection in any part of the body can trigger sepsis but it’s most commonly caused by infections that start in the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen, and pelvis.

While anyone can be affected by sepsis there are certain factors that can increase your risk, including:

  • Recently having surgery
  • Immune weakening conditions, such as HIV or leukaemia
  • Having treatment that weakens the immune systems, including chemotherapy and long-term steroids
  • Age – being very young or very old can increase your risk
  • Pregnancy
  • Receiving wounds or injuries through an accident
  • Having drips or catheters attached to the skin
  • Being on mechanical ventilation
  • Long-term health conditions, including diabetes
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There are lots of symptoms of sepsis but the early signs can be missed by individuals who don’t know what they are looking for. The early symptoms of sepsis may include:

  • A high temperature
  • Chills and shivering
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing

If the condition remains untreated it can develop into more severe sepsis or septic shock, when the blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level.

In serious cases symptoms can include:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • A change of mental state, such as confusion or disorientation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Severe muscle pain
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Less urine production than normal
  • Cold, clammy and pale or mottled skin
  • Loss of consciousness

Individuals should seek medical advice if they’ve recently experienced an infection or injury and are showing the early signs of sepsis. If the serious symptoms of sepsis are present it should be treated as a medical emergency.

Due to the early warning signs of sepsis being relatively mild and mimicking other, less serious, conditions, it is possible for GP misdiagnosis sepsis to occur. Sepsis misdiagnosis stories highlight just how severe the consequences of delayed diagnosis can be, with some instances proving fatal for the patient involved.

Read less

Initially, sepsis is often diagnosed based on simple measurements, such as temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate, as well as the symptoms you are presenting. A blood test can also be used to identify blood poisoning and signal that treatment is needed.

Once you’ve been diagnosed other tests are typically conducted. These tests aim to determine the type of infection, where it is located, and how it has affected your body’s functions, allowing treatment to be tailored to your condition.

Tests that may be conducted include:

  • Urine or stool sampled
  • A wound culture
  • Respiratory secretion testing
  • Blood pressure tests
  • X-ray or CT scan

A delay in sepsis diagnosis can have a significant impact on the outlook of treatment. As a result, a quick diagnosis process and healthcare professionals that pick up on the signs of sepsis can have a big impact on prognosis.

Read less

If sepsis is caught during the early stages, it is relatively easy to treat. If you are showing signs of sepsis you will usually be referred to a hospital for diagnosis and treatment to begin.

Treatment involves taking antibiotics, giving fluids intravenously and giving oxygen if levels are low. Due to the serious nature of sepsis treatment should begin within an hour of diagnosis to limit the possibility of the infection worsening. Medical professionals should also undertake tests to assess the severity of sepsis and identify the type of bacteria causing the condition.

If you’re experiencing severe sepsis or develop septic shock, emergency hospital treatment will be needed and, in some cases, you could require admission to an intensive care unit.

Due to the problems severe sepsis can cause with vital organs, those experiencing the condition are likely to become very ill and it can prove fatal. However, it is treatable and in the majority of cases the signs are identified quickly and patients go on to make a full recovery with no long-term problems. Where late sepsis diagnosis has occurred, it can mean the likelihood of complications occurring are more likely, with patients taking longer to recover and potentially learning to live with life-changing consequences.

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While in the majority of cases the signs of sepsis and blood infections are spotted quickly, where this doesn’t occur it can prove fatal. A delay in diagnosis of sepsis can also result in treatment being significantly setback, meaning that patients may be left dealing with lifelong conditions associated with misdiagnosed sepsis, including:

Amputation

Sepsis causes your body’s blood clotting mechanism to go into overdrive, potentially causing blockages inside the blood vessels. This means that oxygen and vital nutrients may not be able to get to some areas of the body, leading to tissue death. When undiagnosed sepsis is allowed to continue developing conditions such as gangrene can also emerge, leading to the need for amputations. In some cases, this will mean losing fingers or toes but it can mean patients need a limb amputating in order to save their life, significantly impacting on their future.

Permanent organ damage

Sepsis can lead to serious organ failure if not caught quickly and even when treated it can mean living with life-changing conditions. For patients affected by wrong sepsis diagnosis, this means the need to adapt their lifestyle to cope with the long-term implications. For example, sepsis can lead to kidney failure requiring lifelong dialysis treatment.

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There aren’t any official sepsis misdiagnosis statistics but a study has shown that poor levels of NHS care are contributing to the startling high fatalities that occur from sepsis.

The research from 2013, which looked at the effects of delayed treatment, found that almost 13,000 patients die needlessly every year from severe infections. Missed sepsis diagnosis and delays in treatment being delivered meant that opportunities to save lives were being missed, the study concluded. Problems that were highlighted included lack of early diagnosis, failure to recognise severity, delays in treatment, and delay in the control of the infection. Patients that have encountered these problems when suffering from an infection may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim to reflect how they have been let down by the healthcare system.

Case studies of misdiagnosis of sepsis have been the news, demonstrating the impact medical negligence can have when it comes to blood poisoning. Sepsis misdiagnosis cases include:

  • A mother securing compensation after misdiagnosis led to her being placed on life support following deadly blood poisoning spreading to her heart, lungs and brain.
  • A man being misdiagnosed with the flu when he had sepsis, the delay in treatment led to him being hospitalised for three months.
  • A death of a pensioner was labelled as avoidable after experiencing systemic sepsis that was not treated effectively.
  • A six-year-old that died from sepsis after being sent home from hospital with chicken pox. A report found she could have been saved if her condition was diagnosed when she first went to hospital.
  • A six-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome dying after medical professionals failed to recognise the severity of sepsis symptoms.
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Despite being a well-known and life-threatening condition, sepsis is often underestimated by the general public. According to NHS figures, it’s estimated that every year more than 100,000 in the UK are admitted to hospital with sepsis. As a result of the condition around 31,000 people die annually in the UK, highlighting how dangerous blood poisoning can be and the need for effective treatment.

A delayed diagnosis of sepsis can mean the chances of making a full recovery are more limited. Every year more people die from sepsis in the UK than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined and it’s the biggest direct cause of death in UK pregnancies.

Septic arthritis may also be known as infectious arthritis as it is caused by a bacterial infection. It causes inflammation around the joint, often resulting in severe pain, and can affect any joint in the body, although it’s most commonly affects the knees or hips. Where effective treatment is given, most sufferers of septic arthritis make a full recovery with no lasting damage. However, where treatment isn’t delivered it has the potential to cause permanent joint damage and become life-threatening.

Septic arthritis can affect both adults and children. The condition is usually caused by bacteria that are spread through the bloodstream but it may also enter the body through an open wound or opening following surgery.

There are several different types of bacteria that can cause septic arthritis, most commonly staphylococcal bacteria and streptococcal bacteria. In addition to bacteria causing septic arthritis, there are risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of contracting the condition.

These include:

  • Having joint surgery, allowing the bacteria to enter through the opening
  • Having a bacterial infection somewhere else in the body, which can then travel to the joint through the bloodstream
  • Some long-term conditions have been linked to an increased risk, including diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Using injected drugs
  • Taking medication that suppresses the immune system
  • Recently injuring a joint
  • Septic arthritis is also more common in young children and elderly adults
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Septic arthritis is where a joint becomes inflamed due to a bacterial infection and generally, the symptoms will come on rapidly, sometimes developing over just a few hours. Intense pain, swelling, redness, and heat in the affected joints are the most common signs of septic arthritis.

Other signs of septic arthritis may include:

  • Difficulty in moving the affected joint
  • A high temperature
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

When it occurs in young children, they will often become irritable and may avoid using or putting weight on the affected limb.

Septic arthritis can be a serious condition and it’s important that those with the symptoms attend a GP appointment or go to A&E as soon as possible. A delay in septic arthritis diagnosis can mean that those suffering will have to live with the complications of the condition for the rest of their lives as it’s crucial that effective treatment is delivered. There are misdiagnosed septic arthritis cases that demonstrate the need for accurate and rapid diagnosis.

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If you experienced misdiagnosed septic arthritis, you may be able to make a claim. Successful cases demonstrate that there was both an opportunity to accurately diagnose the condition and that the medical negligence experienced led to undue suffering.

There are a number of ways you can show that your wrong diagnosis of septic arthritis was due to medical negligence. For example, you could show that:

  • There was a failure to diagnose septic arthritis after your GP missed the symptoms of the condition
  • If you were not referred to A&E despite presenting the signs of septic arthritis
  • The necessary tests were not ordered to achieve a diagnosis
  • Your test results were read incorrectly
  • You presented the symptoms of septic diagnosis but tests were negative and other tests were not ordered
  • There was an unnecessary delay in your care

Septic arthritis can have serious long-term complications that can severely affect a person’s quality of life and even be life-threatening. To support a compensation case against those responsible, you will need to demonstrate that undue suffering was caused. This can take several forms, such as the unnecessary pain felt due to a delay in treatment or experiencing a long-term complication that means you now have to live with a disability.

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Septic arthritis is most common in young children and elderly and if your child has been affected you may be able to make a compensation claim on their behalf.

In children, septic arthritis is most common in the hips. Long-term complications of septic arthritis can have a huge effect on quality of life, for instance limiting mobility. When you take your child to your doctors or local hospital with concerns you should be able to rely on those responsible for their care to take the necessary steps to achieve a quick, accurate diagnosis. Septic arthritis misdiagnosis cases not only mean that children are in pain and uncomfortable for longer but can increase the likelihood of complications occurring.

If you would like to make a claim for septic arthritis malpractice for your child, you will still need to follow the same process, such as demonstrating that medical negligence caused undue suffering and do so within the timeframe to make medical claims – three years.

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Often when experiencing joint pain, a person will make an appointment with their GP. However, if your symptoms indicate that they could be caused by septic arthritis, your GP will immediately refer you to an A&E department for further testing.

Those undergoing an assessment for septic arthritis will have a blood test and a sample of fluid removed from the affected joint. These tests will examine whether inflammation and infection is present and identify bacteria that may be present. However, these tests aren’t always accurate and it is possible for them to return a negative result even when septic arthritis is to blame for the symptoms.

An x-ray or MRI scan may also be used to assess the extent of the joint damage that septic arthritis may have caused.

A delayed diagnosis of septic arthritis can seriously harm a patient’s prognosis and increase the likelihood of complications occurring. A quick diagnosis often relies on first the GP recognising the signs and then acting to make a referral to an A&E department. Where this doesn’t happen it can mean that GP misdiagnosis septic arthritis occurs. But a delay in diagnosis of septic arthritis can also occur if the necessary test results aren’t followed up or if the results of a test come back negative, despite symptoms, and the signs aren’t investigated further.

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Complications of septic arthritis can often be minimised or the risk reduced through administering the necessary treatment but where septic arthritis misdiagnosis has occurred this can lead to the risks increasing. A late septic arthritis diagnosis can mean that vital treatment is delayed, which in turn can lead to joint degeneration and, in some cases, permanent damage to the affected joint.

Complications that can be caused by septic arthritis include:

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that is caused by bacteria and it can have serious complications if not treated adequately, including gangrene and the need for amputation in rare circumstances. It can occur when an infection spreads to the bone via the bloodstream and presents similar symptoms to septic arthritis.

Bony erosions

Bony erosions is the term for the loss of bone from disease processes. In cases of misdiagnosis of septic arthritis where treatment has been delayed, it is possible for bony erosions to occur due to the condition.

Fibrous ankylosis

Fibrous ankylosis affects the connective tissue, fusing together two bones. It can result in reduced mobility when it affects joints.

Sepsis

Sepsis is a potential complication of an infection, including septic arthritis. It is rare but very serious and can lead to multiple organ failure and death quickly if it isn’t diagnosed and treated swiftly.

Death

Due to the potential complications of septic arthritis, including sepsis, it is possible for the condition to be fatal. As a result, the wrong septic arthritis diagnosis can have serious implications for those involved and should be treated quickly.

The potentially life-altering and life-threatening complications mean that those affected by a missed septic arthritis diagnosis may be able to make a failure to diagnose claim, reflecting the undue suffering their level of care has caused.

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Occasionally, it is possible for doctor misdiagnosed septic arthritis to occur. Some of the symptoms of septic arthritis can mimic other conditions, leading to undiagnosed septic arthritis and a delay in the delivery of treatment.

Some of the conditions that septic arthritis may wrongly be labelled as include:

  • Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Adult Still’s disease
  • Lyme disease

There aren’t any official septic arthritis claims misdiagnosis statistics. However, while rare there are cases of septic arthritis misdiagnosis occurring in the UK.

While not specific to septic arthritis, previous research has indicated that as many as one in six patients treated by the NHS are initially misdiagnosed because medical professionals are too quick to judge a patient’s symptoms.

  • 45% of septic arthritis sufferers are over 65 years old and are more likely to have multiple diseases
  • 56% of septic arthritis patients are male.
  • Between 1.5 and 2.5% of joint infections are caused by an increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms during a first procedure.
  • Up to 20% of joint infections are caused by an increase in antibiotic-resistant organisms during further procedures
  • At least 2 – 10% of patients fitted with a prosthetic limb suffer prosthetic joint infection (PJI)  
  • There are an estimated 20,000 cases of acute bacterial arthritis per year in both the US and Europe

If you or a member of your family suffered harm due to a medical error, you need to know why you were so badly let down by those entrusted to take care of you.  For example, 

  • If a doctor, GP or hospital fails or delays in diagnosing and treating septic arthritis, or
  • If you or a loved one suffered complications from the diagnosis and/or treatment of septic arthritis, which led to a preventable amputation.

To prove a successful clinical negligence claim you need to:

  • Show that the treatment you received fell below a standard that a reasonable body of medical opinion would find acceptable. 
  • Establish that if there had not been a ‘breach of duty’, the damage or injury would not have occurred.