Law Society’s Chief Assessor believes new sepsis rapid test could save thousands of lives

22nd February 2019

A Senior Solicitor and Chief Assessor of the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel believes that a new ‘rapid test’ could be a significant breakthrough for the diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.

Strathclyde University unveiled this week that they are currently developing a faster sepsis diagnosis tool that could detect the signs of sepsis within 2 ½ minutes, and Trevor Ward, Senior Solicitor at Fletchers Solicitor’s, believes a brand new sepsis test could show results in minutes.

Trevor said: “This could be a significant breakthrough in the treatment of sepsis.

“The important feature is that the sooner antibiotic therapy is commenced, the better the outcome.”

As it stands, a blood test to determine the best antibiotic treatment to treat sepsis can take up to 72 hours and it is estimated that there are 250,000 cases of sepsis per year and around 50,000 deaths related to sepsis every single year in the UK.

Trevor continued:

“Early detection in the hands of GPs and accident and emergency departments may allow early treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics to be given pending confirmed diagnosis and treatment with specific antibiotics if need be.

“The research shows early promise and hope  for introduction in the NHS by 2022 so it can only represent a potentially significant improvement in patient care.”

Trevor Ward believes the new test could save thousands of lives

Medical research has also backed Trevor’s thinking.

Early diagnosis is believed to be the key to progression, with as many as an estimated 14,000 lives saved from the product’s development and launch.

Sepsis derives from a series of serious bacterial infections when bacteria spreads within the bloodstream, with the initial infection born from something as simple as a cut.

What has been difficult for the development of sepsis’ diagnosis is the fact symptoms often mimic those of a viral infection, such as altered mental state, increased respiratory rate and reduced blood pressure.

The UK Sepsis Trust have supported the university’s initial research but concluded that no test is yet spotting the condition with 100% accuracy.

Dr Ron Daniels, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Sepsis Trust, also backs Trevor’s enthusiasm.

Speaking to BBC news earlier this week he said: “Systems like this are important as, with every hour before the right antibiotics are administered, risk of death increases.

“No test is perfect in the identification of sepsis, so it’s crucial we continue to educate clinicians to in order to prompt them to use such tests.”

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