Dudley Hospital criticised over care of patients with sepsis

Friday 24th May 2019

Recent news reports have shown that the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust appears to be struggling with the care of patients with sepsis.

The Trust was first found to have difficulties in managing patients suffering from sepsis in December 2017, when the Care Quality Commission reported concerns over the treatment provided at the Trust. An investigation was launched in 2018, looking at the deaths of 54 patients who had passed away in a six-month period, with some potential involvement with sepsis. One notable case to hit the headlines is the case of Simon Smith; his widow is being represented by Waldrons and we will be attending the inquest with her in due course. Details of his treatment can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-47712920

We have assisted the family in trying to raise awareness of sepsis. This condition leads to the death of one person in the UK every twelve minutes, and affects 25,000 children across the UK every year. Sepsis is the immune system’s overreaction to an infection or injury, where the body’s own organs and tissues become damaged by the immune system’s attack. Normally, this attack helps to fight off an infection, but with the overreaction associated with sepsis, organs and tissues become collateral damage.

Common signs and symptoms of sepsis include:

● An abnormally high or low temperature

● Chills and shivering

● A fast heartbeat

● Difficulty breathing, or changes to breathing

● Feeling different to normal, including symptoms of confusion and/or sickness

To the untrained eye, sepsis can easily be confused with other conditions. It might also be referred to as ‘septicaemia’. In any event, early detection and early treatment is key. Management at hospital usually includes reference to the ‘sepsis 6’, this being 3 lots of treatment and 3 lots of investigations. Early antibiotics, fluids and oxygen form the treatment, and blood cultures, a blood sample and monitoring urine output form the investigations.

Early treatment can have a significant effect on increasing the prospects of someone surviving sepsis. However, delays in diagnosis or treatment can have devastating consequences: if ‘septic shock’ sets in, where the organs are affected and the blood pressure drops, 40% of people will pass away.

Our efforts to raise awareness of sepsis, and improve the treatment of this condition, will continue. Please click here to contact us if you would like advice.

Joseph Norton, Head of Compensation

Waldrons Solicitors