More Must be Done to Save the Lives of Patients with Sepsis

More Must be Done to Save the Lives of Patients with Sepsis

A recent report from the Health Service Ombudsman found significant failings in the treatment of sepsis in UK hospitals. The report covers ten cases of sepsis in patients who apparently suffered a delay in receiving the correct treatment of the condition.
Sepsis is a condition which occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to infection. The condition can cause swelling blood clotting and organ failure. It is estimated that around 37000 people die from sepsis each year and the condition is responsible for 100000 hospital admissions. Common causes of sepsis include pneumonia bowel perforation and untreated urinary and skin infections.
The Health Service Ombudsman whose role is to investigate complaints about the NHS in England are concerned about the apparent delay in identifying and diagnosing sepsis cases.
Julie Mellor of the Health Service Ombudsman told the BBC that the NHS need to act now:
“In the cases in our report sadly all the patients died. In some of these cases with better care and treatment they may have survived.
“We have worked closely with NHS England National Institute for Health and Care Excellence UK Sepsis Trust and Royal Colleges to find solutions to the issues indentified in our report. NICE and NHS England have already agreed to take forward the recommendations of our report.
“We know that it is not easy to spot the early signs of sepsis but if we learn from these complaints and work to improve diagnosis and provide rapid treatment then lives can be saved.”
Following recommendations in the Ombudsman’s report The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) plans to issue guidance to GPs and other clinicians on how to identify sepsis and effectively manage and treat at an early stage.
Dr Ron Daniels chairman of the UK Sepsis Trust told the BBC the solution was straightforward:
“The best hospitals have achieved better outcomes from sepsis by adopting a simple set of life-saving measures collectively known as Sepsis 6 and ensuring that a culture of awareness around sepsis has been created.
“We now need to spread this awareness to other health professionals and to the public and to underpin this with guidance from the NHS England and NICE
Dr Daniels thinks that the recommendations could potentially save the lives of 12500 people every year.
Dr Mike Durkin NHS England’s director of patient safety told the BBC that the NHS would use the report findings to try and reduce sepsis deaths by working with GPs and hospitals.
“This report and guidance will help us to build on the work that is already in place to emphasis the importance of education early detection and prompt treatment.
“We all need in every sitting to understand the importance of identifying deterioration in both adults and children in reducing the admission of full term babies to neonatal care and identifying problems in vulnerable older people in the first 48 hours of acute illness.”
Dr Peter Carter chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said the report showed the tragic consequences of sepsis.
“It is vital that all staff are provided with training and support to enable them to recognise the signs and symptoms of sepsis and crucially to know how to act quickly when sepsis is diagnosed.”
If you or an member of your family has suffered an injury as a result of a delay in diagnosing and treating sepsis you or they may be able to make a claim for medical negligence. Please contact Michael Lewin Solicitors as soon as possible to discuss your possible claim.

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