Middlemore Hospital in Auckland has been criticised over a vague policy, missed opportunities and “unacceptable” delay in treating a man who died from the overwhelming effects of infection.
The man, aged in his 60s, went to the emergency department in 2011 suffering severe back pain several weeks after having back and shoulder surgery, according to a report made public today by Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill.
The pain was assessed as muscle and skeletal pain and he was discharged. He returned four days later complaining of pain and dizziness. At 11 am a doctor queried if the man had sepsis, which is a potentially life-threatening inflammatory response to infection. If this man was suffering from sepsis, he would’ve needed treatment as soon as possible. Sepsis is actually a life-threatening disease that has been known to kill people before. Unfortunately, sepsis is seen all around the world. For example, the number of sepsis deaths in UK is increasing, despite healthcare advice being given out to hospital workers. If an individual complains of sepsis symptoms, they should be receiving treatment as quickly as possible before the body shuts down to protect itself. Unfortunately, it sounds like this man may have suffered from sepsis. As the doctor failed to diagnose him with sepsis, the man may have been a victim of medical misdiagnosis. This means his family may be due some compensation to help them recover from this traumatic experience. Sepsis kills pretty quickly, which is why it has become known as the silent killer. It’s vital that healthcare practices begin taking sepsis more seriously.