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Sepsis - knowing the symptoms of this potentially life-threatening condition

February was sepsis awareness month in parts of Cumbria. A potentially life-threatening condition, sepsis is the body’s strong reaction to an infection and if not treated quickly, can lead to organ failure and death.

According to the NHS, there are more deaths as a result of sepsis than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Recognising the symptoms early is vital, as is administering timely antibiotics within one hour of sepsis being suspected.

National guidelines set out by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advise that antibiotics should be provided even before a sepsis diagnosis is confirmed.

We recently representing the parents of a 15-month-old girl who died from sepsis as a result of medical negligence. Her well informed parents suspected that she was suffering from the condition as soon as they took her into hospital and they repeatedly asked medical staff when she would be given antibiotics over a 16-hour period.

Sadly, the hospital involved failed to listen and failed to act leading to her entirely preventable death just two days later.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, 25,000 children are affected by sepsis every year and five people die as a result of the condition every hour in the UK.

Sepsis is entirely treatable if caught early and antibiotics are provided quickly in line with the national NICE guidelines.

Symptoms include:

·         High fever

·         Skin looks mottled, bluish or pale

·         Body is abnormally cold to the touch

·         Fast breathing

·         A rash that doesn’t fade when pressed

·         Fits or convulsions

·         Repeated vomiting

·         Not passing urine for 12 hours

·         Not feeding

Our specialist team of leading medical and legal specialists have represented families for more than 20 years. We have recently acted for several families when medical professionals failed to recognise and failed to respond to sepsis symptoms in line with national guidelines - with devastating consequences.

If you believe that your family has suffered significant harm or death as a result of medical negligence our friendly team of specialists offer free initial advice on 01253 766 559.

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital worst in the country for A&E waiting times

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Blackpool Victoria Hospital worst in the country for A&E waiting times

Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department is the worst in England for hitting the 4-hour maximum waiting time for patients according to new NHS figures. 

The hospital only managed to see 40.1% of A&E patients within four hours of their arrival in December 2017, compared to a national average of 77.3% and against an NHS-wide target of 95%. No other English NHS Trust fell below 57%. Additionally, when looking at A&E patients across England who were forced to wait over 12 hours to be seen, more than 1 in 7 were in Blackpool Victoria.

With timely treatment often essential when dealing with A&E patients, these figures for Blackpool Victoria Hospital represent a potentially significant threat to patient safety.

Wendy Swift, Chief Executive of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Chairman of the Fylde Coast A&E Delivery Board, said in a press release: 

“The health system across the Fylde was under severe and sustained pressure over the Christmas period and this challenging situation continued into the New Year. During this time pressures on our services led to an unusually large number of A&E breaches in early January. 

“Our primary concern during this period was the safety of patients and the compassion and commitment of staff ensured that the level of patient care remained high through these challenging times.”

Ms Swift went on to explain: 

“We have been undertaking extensive work to stream non-emergency patients into more appropriate settings such as our walk-in centres and our urgent care centre, working with local GPs. That means the most acutely ill patients with complex needs are treated in the emergency department and they need more care and attention from our senior clinical teams prior to admission to ensure they get the best possible care.”

This latest scandal comes in the wake of the revelation in September 2017 that Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust has one of the highest rates of unnecessary deaths of any NHS trust in England. It was found that the Trust had experienced an unexpectedly high number of deaths in the 12 months up to March 2017 – the second year in the row that this has been the case.

The figures for unnecessary deaths are generated by comparing the actual number of deaths in an NHS trust to predictions made by the Summary Hospital-level Mortality Indicator (SHMI) scheme. The SHMI figures are based on various factors and are designed to show how many patients would be expected to die at a specific hospital if were run to an acceptable standard.

Blackpool Victoria Hospital was also previously highlighted in a 2013 review by the NHS’s medical director looking into 13,000 needless deaths across 14 NHS trusts.

Unfortunately, this pattern of failings at Blackpool Victoria Hospital reflects our own experience dealing with clients who are former patients of the hospital. We have supported a number of people pursuing medical negligence claims against Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Trust due to failings in the care they received. 

While we have achieved success for many of these clients, securing substantial financial settlements in a number of cases, the need for this kind of action strongly suggests that significant improvements need to be made at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and throughout the local NHS trust.

If you believe you have been a victim of medical negligence at Blackpool Victoria Hospital or anywhere else in England and Wales, we can offer the support you need to claim compensation. 

You can get in touch with our highly experienced medical negligence solicitors now by calling 01253 766 559 or emailing dr@addies.co.uk. Please be assured that any information you share with us will be treated with the strictest confidence.

 

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