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PURPOSE: Coroners' Prevention of Future Death (PFDs) reports are an under-utilized resource to learn about preventable deaths in England and Wales. We aimed to identify sepsis-related PFDs and explore the causes and concerns in this subset of preventable sepsis deaths. METHODS: Four thousand three hundred five reports were acquired from the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website between July 2013 and November 2022, which were screened for sepsis. Demographic information, coroners concerns and responses to these reports were extracted and analyzed, including a detailed paediatric subgroup analysis. RESULTS: Two hundred sixty-five reports (6% of total PFDs) involved sepsis-related deaths. The most common cause of death in these reports was "sepsis without septic shock" (42%) and the most common site of infection was the respiratory system (18%) followed by gastrointestinal (16%) and skin (13%) infections. Specific pathogens were named in few reports (27%). Many deaths involved multimorbid patients (49%) or those with recent surgery (26%). Coroners named 773 individual concerns, the most frequent were: a failure to keep accurate records or notes (28%), failure in communication or handover (27%) or failure to recognize risk factors or comorbidities (20%). Paediatric cases frequently reported issues with sepsis screening tools (26%). Sepsis PFDs resulted in 421 individual reports being sent, of which 45% received no response. Most organisations who did respond acknowledged concerns and initiated a new change (74%). CONCLUSION: Sepsis-related PFDs provide valuable insights into preventable causes of sepsis and identify important sources of improvement in sepsis care. Wider dissemination of findings is vital to learn from these reports.

Original publication




Journal article



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Coroner, Deaths, Infection, Sepsis, Septic