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Sepsis: Lessons Remain Unlearned

Sepsis is a condition when the body’s immune system has a serious response to infection. Anyone can develop it following an injury or minor infection and it develops at an alarming rate.

The NHS ombudsman reported in October, warning that sepsis is still claiming too many lives due to the same failings identified in their previous report over ten years ago.

The 2013 report Time to Act found that failure to act quickly when patients first presented with symptoms had led to too many unnecessary deaths.

The new report Spotlight on Sepsis: Your Stories, Your Rights finds that the same serious failings continue today and that healthcare providers have not learned from their mistakes.

Particular emphasis was placed on failings to diagnose and treat swiftly, poor communication and record keeping and missed opportunities for follow-up care.

The stories of patients affected by sepsis make distressing reading. All the more so because some of the after-effects could have been prevented if swift action had been taken.

Rob Behrens the Ombudsman comments on the report:

“I’ve heard some harrowing stories about sepsis through our investigations, and it frustrates and saddens me that the same mistakes we highlighted ten years ago are still occurring. It is clear that lessons are not being learned.

“Complaints have the power to reveal the truth, bring closure and create lasting positive change. But complaints must be handled properly, and findings acted upon. Losing a life through sepsis should not be an inevitability.

“The NHS needs to listen to patients and their families when they raise concerns. It needs to be sepsis-aware. We know early detection and treatment is crucial. It is time to make sure complaints count, and patients' voices are used to shape action on sepsis that is urgently needed.”

At Graystons, we have represented sepsis patients and their families following their treatment by healthcare providers. Sadly some people will experience long-term physical and psychological harm including amputation and sadly the infection can result in a patient’s death.

If you feel that you or a loved one has been affected please call for a free, informal chat in the first instance to see if Graystons can help you find answers and help compensate you for your terrible loss. Call 0151 645 0055 or email

Check if it is sepsis: Symptoms of sepsis - NHS (


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