Understanding a silent killer - World Sepsis Day

13 September 2022

One in five deaths globally is associated with sepsis. Today, on World Sepsis Day, Higgs LLP moves to highlight some of the symptoms to be aware of – and what to do if medical negligence caused personal injury or death to a loved one.

According to the UK Sepsis Trust, every three seconds someone in the world dies of sepsis. In the UK alone, 245,000 people are affected by sepsis every with at least 48,000 of those losing their lives in sepsis-related illness.

And a significant proportion of those who do make it out of hospital face amputations and lengthy complications.

What is sepsis?           

Sepsis, or septicemia, is blood poisoning and is life threatening. It occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. It may lead to shock, multi-organ failure, and death - especially if not recognised early and treated promptly. 

Symptoms include:


  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured


  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
  • Looks mottled, bluish, or pale
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

A child under 5:

  • Is not feeding
  • Is vomiting repeatedly
  • Has not passed urine for 12 hours

Sepsis requires immediate hospital attention and urgent treatment with antibiotics and steroids treatment.  You might also be given a lumbar puncture to check for the presence of bacteria or virus, as well as blood tests. 

Have I got a sepsis claim?

Huge strides have been made in recent years in the way sepsis is identified by medical professionals – but there are still times when care falls below a reasonable standard.

If you or a family member suffered any of the following, then you may have a claim:

  • Administration of a contaminated intravenous line (IV) which caused sepsis
  • Delayed diagnosis of meningitis and / or sepsis
  • Delay in providing treatment once meningitis and / or sepsis has been diagnosed
  • Inappropriate treatment for meningitis and / or sepsis

At Higgs LLP we have extensive experience in helping people who have been affected by sepsis as a result of negligence. We have a team of solicitors who are committed to helping people rebuild their lives unexpected injury.

Read more about our experience with

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