Mother Warns Parents to be Aware of Sepsis Symptoms
A mother has spoken out about sepsis symptoms that parents should be aware of to ensure that their children are correctly diagnosed and treated.
The Leicester Mercury reported recently that doctors missed the signs of sepsis in Ms Acacia Bell’s 10 month old son, Shane Og Kerr. He was presenting with a high temperature which had not subsided after being given Nurofen (ibuprofen) and Calpol (paracetamol). Ms Bell states that having taken Shane to see their GP, he failed to spot the signs of sepsis, and advised her to continue giving him medication.
Sepsis is a serious condition which is caused by an infection in any part of the body. The most common sites of infection which can potentially lead to sepsis are in the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen and pelvis. However, if your immune system is weak, or the infection is severe, this can quickly spread to other parts of the body.
According to the NHS, the most common signs and symptoms in babies and children are mottled, bluish or pale skin, fast breathing, a rash which does not fade when pressed, a fit or convulsion, abnormally cold skin and lethargy. Babies under 1 are particularly at risk of contracting sepsis.
Sepsis currently claims 52,000 lives a year in the UK. Early treatment is vital to ensure a favourable outcome. The NHS advises patients to contact 111 immediately if any of the above symptoms are present, after which, the patient will likely be referred to hospital for further diagnosis and treatment. If sepsis goes unchecked, it can lead to multiple organ failure or death.
Ms Bell states that she realised that something was wrong with Shane, due to his temperature being 38C and made attempts to obtain treatment. She says she made “numerous trips to out-of-hours and A&E” but felt that she was made to “feel like she was stupid” by health professionals, as they believed that her son was suffering from suspected tonsillitis.
Shane was finally treated at the Royal Victoria Hospitals for Sick Children where he was diagnosed with sepsis. Ms Bell urges parents to “trust your instincts” if you have concerns that your child is not being correctly treated.
In England new guidelines created by organisations including the UK Sepsis Trust, Royal College of Physicians and NHS England, aims to cut the number of sepsis deaths. It calls for staff to look for signs of sepsis in people coming into A&E at an early stage and to flag cases when patients suspected of having the condition are not responding to treatment. The NHS is also rolling out the National Early Warning Scores (NEWS2) to more acute and ambulance trusts and it is to be hoped that these measures will reduce the amount of patients that have the sort of experience reported by Ms Bell and her son Shane.
Moosa-Duke Solicitors are specialists in clinical negligence. If you believe that you or a family member have been a victim of a failure to refer or diagnose sepsis, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 254 7456 to discuss your concerns.