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Sepsis Amputation - Can I Claim?

Sepsis Amputation - Can I Claim?

If sepsis is not treated in time the tissue and muscle can become gangrenous. For some patients the gangrene will be so extensive that an amputation is necessary.

If you have undergone an amputation after developing sepsis, you need to find out whether poor medical care is to blame. A solicitor who works in medical negligence (also called clinical negligence) will be able to tell you if you are entitled to compensation for the life-changing injuries you have experienced.

For more information on claiming compensation for an amputation, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors. We are experts in medical negligence law and offer everyone a free initial enquiry. During this consultation we will advise you upon your legal options, suggesting if you are in a position to take legal action.

Why do some people have an amputation after having sepsis?

To understand how sepsis could potentially lead to an amputation, it is necessary to understand what sepsis is and how it affects the body.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is when an infection gets into the bloodstream and travels around the body in the blood. The body's immune system will kick in, as it normally does when an infection is present.

Ordinarily the immune system will send white blood cells to the site of infection to fight off the bacteria. This can cause inflammation in the affected area. However, this side effect can result in serious problems where sepsis is concerned. This is because the bacteria will have spread across the body. The body's immune system therefore works overtime, attempting to fight the infection on all fronts. This will lead to inflammation across the body, as well as widespread clotting.

Disrupted blood supply and tissue death

Both the inflammation and the clotting are very unfortunate consequences of the immune system's response to the infection. Indeed, it will make it difficult for the blood to flow through the blood vessels normally, as they will be blocked with clots and inflamed tissue.

The blood plays a very important role because it carries oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and carries waste products away. Thus when the blood flow is disrupted by sepsis, the tissue will not receive enough oxygen and there will be a build-up of waste products.

When the tissue is deprived of oxygen in this way, it will quickly begin to break down and die. This is called gangrene. The tissue will change colour, turning dark red to purple/black. An open wound will also develop as more and more tissue dies.

Sepsis and amputation

The dead tissue cannot be restored. Furthermore, it can cause the infection to spread further. Consequently a surgeon will need to surgically remove all the dead tissue, as this is the only way to rid a patient of disease.

The outcome of the surgery will depend upon how much tissue has become gangrenous. If treatment is provided early enough, only a small amount of tissue will have to be cut away. There may be an open wound, but this can be closed with medical techniques such as skin grafts.

But in some cases, a large portion of an arm, hand, leg or foot may have become gangrenous. If there is extensive damage the surgeon will have to remove so much tissue that the limb cannot be saved. If so the surgeon will have no choice but to perform an amputation.

Why does sepsis cause amputation?

In conclusion, sepsis can cause an amputation because it disrupts the flow of blood to the tissue. This makes the tissue deficient in oxygen and nutrients, resulting in tissue death. If extensive tissue death occurs in an arm or leg, the limb will have to be amputated. If it is not amputated, the infection will remain in the body and the patient may not recover.

Could amputation be avoided with early treatment?

The extent of tissue damage will become increasingly worse with time. So if treatment is provided before too much tissue becomes gangrenous, it will be possible to save the limb and avoid amputation. But if there is a delay in treatment or the infection is particularly aggressive, there may be no choice but to carry out an amputation.

This means that it all comes down to the timing of surgery. If given early enough, it is possible to successfully treat sepsis and avoid an amputation.

What if medical errors are to blame for a delay in treatment?

If doctors are at fault for delaying treatment, and this made an amputation necessary, there may be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

Medical practitioners should be aware of the urgency with which sepsis treatment is required. This should include carrying out debridement surgery on an emergency basis. It is not acceptable for a patient with tissue gangrene to go without surgical treatment, as this will quickly cause a deterioration in his/her condition. Immediate action is vital if a limb is to be saved.

If there is a delay in sepsis care because of medical error, resulting in an amputation that could have been avoided with better medical care, there may be grounds for a compensation claim.

Expert legal advice

To find out if you can claim compensation for a sepsis amputation, please get in touch with us at Glynns Solicitors. We are a team of dedicated clinical injury lawyers based in between Bath and Bristol, although we act for clients across England and Wales.

Having an amputation will be devastating, and it will be even harder to come to terms with if you know it could have been avoided with better medical care. If this has happened to you, you deserve to obtain justice for the terrible injuries you have been left with.

It is important not to wait too long to seek legal advice as claims must be made within three years of the event. If you run out of time, you will not be able to make a claim.

Contact us today

For expert legal advice regarding a medical negligence claim, please get in touch with us today.

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