Sepsis: A Call for Better Training

Sepsis or blood poisoning is a serious complication of an infection, which can be fatal if not treated quickly.

The BBC has recently reported the story of a gentleman who believes that more training is needed. In his case, there was delay in diagnosing sepsis of five hours.

The result was life changing with the amputation of both arms and legs.

The Royal College of Nursing (“RCN”) supports this call for better training for all health professionals.

The RCN also wants to see a national checklist introduced to help spot the signs of sepsis in children. Hospitals already have one for adults, but the RCN professional lead for children Fiona Smith says there have been delays of more than a decade for one for children.

In the meantime it has been left to hospitals to develop their own approaches.

Sepis – Signs

According to the BBC website, every year more than 50,000 people die after contracting sepsis. Many thousands more are left with disabilities and life-changing consequences.

According to the NHS website, symptoms for sepsis include:

  • slurred speech
  • extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • passing no urine in a day
  • severe breathlessness
  • mottled or discolouration of skin

Symptoms in young children include:

  • mottled, bluish or pale skin
  • very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • abnormally cold to touch
  • breathing very fast
  • a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • a seizure or convulsion

With early diagnosis and the correct treatment (normally in the form of antibiotics) most people make a full recovery.

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