Management of Sepsis

This page was last updated: November 18th, 2021

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs.

Sepsis leads to shock, multiple organ failure and death especially if not recognised early and treated promptly.
It is highly likely that, across the UK, sepsis claims at least 46,000 lives every year, and it may be as high as 67,000. Risk factors for sepsis should always prompt a high suspicion of sepsis. Early intervention has been shown to save lives and reduce length of stay in hospital and the need for Critical Care admission.

Here at RCHT we promote early recognition and treatment of Sepsis. Patients are screened through our E-observation system at admission and throughout their stay.

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Signs of Sepsis

What to look out for in adults


  • Slurred speech or confusion
  • Extreme shivering or muscle pain
  • Passing no urine (in a day)
  • Severe breathlessness
  • It feels like you’re going to die
  • Skin mottled or discoloured

What to look out for in a child

  • Is breathing very fast
  • Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
  • Looks mottled, bluish, or pale
  • Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
  • Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
  • Feels abnormally cold to touch

If you see any of these signs call 999 or go to A&E and ask: “Could it be Sepsis?”

A Child under 5 may have Sepsis if they:

  • Are not feeding
  • Are vomiting repeatedly
  • Have not passed urine for 12 hours

If you spot any of these signs, call 111 or see your GP and just ask: “could it be sepsis?”

Sepsis Trust website
RCHT resources and policies

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