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News of new sepsis test is good news but increased awareness is still essential

It was announced in February that a new sepsis test, which promises to diagnose the potentially life-threatening condition within three minutes, would be available on the NHS within the next three to five years.

The new test has been developed by scientists at Strathclyde University in Glasgow who are confident that it “could save thousands of lives”.

According to The UK Sepsis Trust, sepsis kills 52,000 people per year. National guidelines set out by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) advise that medical professionals should provide antibiotics to patients even before a sepsis diagnosis is confirmed.

It currently takes up to 72 hours to diagnose sepsis however, timely treatment can prevent this serious condition from developing into further complications such as multiple organ failure.

The symptoms to be aware of in adults include:

·         A high temperature

·         Chills and shivers

·         A fast heartbeat

·         Fast breathing

More severe symptoms can also include the following:

·         Dizziness or feeling faint

·         Confusion or disorientation

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Diarrhea

·         Not passing water over a prolonged period

·         Cold, clammy, pale or mottled skin

We are sadly seeing too many cases where sepsis treatment has been delayed due to medical professionals failing to follow the national guidelines leading to avoidable patient deaths.

While some of the symptoms of sepsis are very similar to other conditions, the NICE guidelines clearly state that antibiotics should be provide in a timely fashion - even if sepsis is suspected but is yet to be formally diagnosed.

Our specialist team of leading medical and legal specialists have represented families for more than 20 years, including several recent sepsis cases.

If you believe that your family has suffered significant harm or an avoidable death as a result of medical negligence, our friendly team of specialists are here to help on 01253 766 559.

Read more about the sepsis cases we have acted on below.

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Liverpool inquest starts following the alleged preventable death of 15-month-old girl

An inquest into the alleged avoidable death of 15-month-old Evie Crandle has started in Liverpool.

Evie had been taken to Whiston Hospital, in Merseyside, at 11.40am on 14th April 2018 with a high fever of 39.8C. She was refusing her breakfast and was vomiting. Her lips were alternating in colour between pink and blue and she was lethargic.

Medical staff dismissed her parents repeated queries, both on arrival and throughout that day, regarding a sepsis diagnosis and repeated requests for Evie to be given antibiotics.

Medical staff discharged the family at 4.30pm with Evie only provided with ibuprofen and calpol up to this point despite several tests and symptoms indicating sepsis. Evie’s parents brought her back to hospital within two hours because they were so concerned.

Evie was only given IV fluids more than 15 hours following her first admission when her condition had significantly deteriorated and she died two days later at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she had been transferred following an admission into critical care.

Evie’s parents, 31-year-old Sam McNeice and her partner 35-year-old Phil Crandle, said: “Evie was our beautiful little girl and she made our lives perfect. We celebrated what would have been her 2nd birthday less than three weeks ago with family and friends enjoying her favourites of pizza and ice cream.

“We still can’t believe that she has gone and we cry every single day. We were very aware of the symptoms of sepsis when Evie suddenly became ill. We asked the nurse immediately on arrival at Whiston Hospital whether Evie had sepsis but she reassured us that she was not concerned about Evie and that she probably had a urine infection.

“Evie met the criteria to start the sepsis pathway at triage but this didn’t happen. Evie’s condition continued to get worse throughout the day and we repeatedly asked medical staff if she had sepsis and when she would be given antibiotics but this was ignored. Several tests were carried out verifying the presence of an infection and her body temperature was so hot that we had her stripped and in front of a fan at one point. Her hands and feet were very cold and we were very clear in our minds that she had sepsis but no one acted on this until it was too late.”

Representing the family at the inquest medical negligence lawyer Diane Rostron commented: “This is a truly tragic case. Evie’s parents were very well informed about the symptoms of sepsis and had persistently tried to alert staff. Despite Evie’s health clearly deteriorating and various tests showing that she was suffering from an infection, the family were sent home only to return a little over two hours later as further signs of sepsis became present.

“It is incredible that by 8.30pm that evening that Evie had still not been given the urgent treatment that she required. Her parents were instead advised that medical staff planned to give her intravenous fluids but that no one was available to administer the treatment.

“Phil and Sam were so desperate that Phil even offered to help with the procedure himself. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has very clear sepsis guidelines in place. The NICE guidelines clearly recommend that within one hour of sepsis being suspected, and even before a definite diagnosis, antibiotics must be given.

“Several medical staff at Whiston Hospital were involved in the care of Evie that day and all failed to follow the national guidelines resulting in what we believe was Evie’s entirely avoidable death.

“We look forward to the Coroner’s findings and sincerely hope that the NHS Trust now puts urgent measures in place to ensure not only that all its staff are adequately trained in recognising sepsis symptoms, but also that the Trust ensures that all staff adhere to the NICE guidelines. The staff not only failed to follow the national guidelines, but also failed to follow the Trust’s own guidelines.”

Sam and Phil continued: “We are now expecting our second daughter and feel absolutely terrified. Evie was born at Whiston Hospital but we will be having our second child elsewhere as we can’t face being anywhere near there and have serious concerns about the staff. We need to know why the hospital ignored the national sepsis guidelines and its own protocols and why our daughter is no longer with us.”

Evie’s parents are being supported by child bereavement charity Love Jasmine and the bereavement team at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

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 For media enquiries please contact Rana Audah on 07793 356 439 or at rana.audah@gmail.com

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Catalogue of errors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital leads to the avoidable death of a six-year-old girl

Recent news of the preventable death of an autistic six-year-old girl following multiple missed opportunities to properly diagnose and treat her, is sadly an incident that is becoming all too common.

The girl’s parents reported that medical staff had treated them with ‘arrogance’. The parents also stated that the medical professionals involved had blamed their failings on the little girl being ‘uncooperative and non-compliant’.

Suffering with diarrhoea and other symptoms which should have prompted a simple course of rehydration treatment with intravenous fluids being administered, instead, hospital staff failed to follow guidelines and her condition developed into sepsis.

This tragic story is not an isolated incident. All too often we hear clients who have suffered following medical negligence at different hospitals across the country tell us that medical staff simply did not listen, they did not follow the guidelines in place to prevent these incidents, they did not provide proper care.

For this family, and all those who have suffered with significant injuries or who have lost a member of their family due to medical errors, recognition of the mistakes made and regret over the loss suffered goes some way to easing the pain.

To suffer the loss of a child is every parents’ worst nightmare. To have those whose care a child’s health was entrusted not only fail in their medical duty to deliver safe patient care, but to subsequently also fail to show accountability for their devastating mistakes and go as far as blaming the child, is incomprehensible.

It has been reported that staff were responsible for no less than 13 separate failings, including a delay in providing antibiotics when the presenting symptoms suggested that she had developed sepsis.

A life-threatening condition, the administration of antibiotics in a timely fashion as soon as sepsis is diagnosed is vital. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that antibiotics must be given within an hour of sepsis being suspected and diagnosed. The symptoms of sepsis can be found here.

Our team of medical and legal specialists offer more than 20 years’ experience in dealing with medical negligence incidents. We listen when other professionals have failed to do so. If you, or your family, have been significantly injured as a result of medical errors, contact a member of our friendly team on 01253 766 599 or email a summary of the circumstances to dr@addies.co.uk

For more information on the families we have already helped, click here.

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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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