An article from the BBC has recently questioned the effectiveness of hospitals in their treatment of Sepsis.

Sepsis is caused by an over-reaction of the immune system, which is triggered by any kind of infection that spreads quickly around the body and can have potentially catastrophic effects.

Therefore, if Sepsis is suspected, hospitals are meant to put patients on an antibiotic drip within an hour. This is because delaying the treatment of Sepsis puts lives at risk due to the fact it raises the chance of potentially fatal complications.

However, research by BBC News suggests that not all hospitals are managing to quickly treat patients with suspected Sepsis within the hour.

Statistics show that currently one quarter of patients wait longer than the one hour window which is “essential to increase the chance of survival”, according to Dr Ron Daniels of UK Sepsis Trust, with 75% of patients treated within the hour between January to March this year (2019) – across around ¾ of the Hospital Trusts in England.  But it is important to note that this varies greatly and in some places half of patients are delayed.

Although in some cases there are valid reasons for delaying treatment outside of the hour – for instance if waiting on test results or further assessment, or concern of allergic reaction to the antibiotics – it is clear that suspected Sepsis needs to be treated as quickly as is possible. The fact that Sepsis is so hard to spot, due to having no definitive symptom or test, means it is all the more important for there to be quick treatment as this could make all the difference.

This can be illustrated by the UK Sepsis Trust figures – annually, there are 250,000 cases in the UK and 50,000 deaths. Hence, faster treatment in hospitals could reduce the latter, at least in some cases. For example, a 6-day delay on antibiotics to a healthy 51 year old man, in the West Midlands – when notes said he should have had them on day 2 – suggests some hospitals still are not doing enough to act quickly in cases of Sepsis. Even though over recent years hospitals have been monitored over their identification and treatment of Sepsis and have had money withheld if 90% of patients, with suspected Sepsis were not treated within the hour, it still does not seem evident that all hospitals are reacting fast enough in as many cases as possible.

If you or someone you know have suffered from Sepsis and been affected by delayed treatment or failure to identify the condition, please get in touch with the Clinical Negligence Team at Farleys on 0845 287 0939 or send your enquiry through our online contact form.