World Sepsis Day - Friday 13 September

Today (Friday 13th September) is World Sepsis Day. World Sepsis Day is held every year and provides an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against sepsis. It is all about spreading awareness of the condition to ultimately help save lives. Sepsis is a condition that unfortunately affects around 700 people in the UK every day.

Lanyon Bowdler’s award winning clinical negligence team have acted for many clients who have been significantly injured or whose loved ones have died as a result of sepsis. Therefore we recognise the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis. You can find more information on the sepsis page of our website.

What is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that is the result of a massive immune response to a bacterial infection that gets into the blood. It an often be referred to as septicaemia or blood poisoning. The reason that it leads to life threatening circumstances is that it can often lead to organ failure or injury. Early recognition and treatment of sepsis reduces the mortality by 50% and it can be prevented by vaccination and clean care.


Sepsis can be hard to spot and the symptoms can vary between babies/young children and adults/older children. Below are lists of symptoms split into the specified age groups to help you spot the signs of symptoms, should you or someone close to you experience any of the symptoms below (not necessarily all of the symptoms) then you should call 999 or attend your local A&E department.

Baby or Young Children:

  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • Difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast. Also you may notice grunting noises or their stomach sucking under their ribcage
  • A weak, high-pitched cry that is not like their normal cry
  • Not responding like they normally do, or no interest in feeding or normal activities such as play
  • Being sleepier than normal or difficult to take

Adults or Older Children:

  • Acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • Difficulty breaching, breathlessness or breathing very fast.

The importance of asking: “Could it be Sepsis?”

Don’t be afraid to ask any medical professional this important question as sepsis can be overlooked.

There are a variety of other symptoms which could indicate sepsis but similarly could be something such as flu or a chest infection. Should you, your child or someone you know experience any of the following you are encouraged to contact 111.

  • feels very unwell or like there's something seriously wrong
  • has not urinated all day (for adults and older children) or in the last 12 hours (for babies and young children)
  • keeps vomiting and cannot keep any food or milk down (for babies and young children)
  • has swelling, redness or pain around a cut or wound
  • has a very high or low temperature, feels hot or cold to the touch, or is shivering

Treatment and Recovery

As previously mentioned, early treatment is vital in sepsis cases as if not treated early, it can turn into septic shock and cause your organs to fail.

Upon your admission to hospital you should get antibiotics within one hour of arrival. You may need other tests or treatments such as treatment in an intensive care unit, a machine to help you breathe (ventilator) or surgery to help remove areas of infection. These treatments will be dependant on your symptoms.

You may need to remain in hospital for several weeks and many people can make a full recovery from sepsis, it just takes time. Should you experience any long-term effects, otherwise called post-sepsis syndrome your GP can advise you on the most appropriate treatment.

More information is provided on sepsis by the UK Sepsis Trust, which is a charity who works hard to raise awareness and ultimately help save lives. Please visit for more information.

If you or a member of your family have been affected by sepsis and believe there was an issue with your treatment or diagnosis then our expert team will listen and carefully advise you whether you are within your rights to explore a claim for compensation. You can contact our team for free advice on 0800 652 3371.