Sepsis Infections Caused by Medical Malpractice
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition. It is basically your body’s response to an infection and can cause tissue damage, organ failures, and even death. Your body naturally releases certain chemicals to fight off an infection. When the body cannot handle these chemicals, this triggers changes that can result in organ failure. These chemicals can trigger widespread inflammation, leading to blood clots and leaking blood vessels. It affects blood flow, depriving the organs its needed oxygen and nutrients.
More than 1 million Americans get sepsis in a year. Of this number, 15 to 20 percent die.
Sepsis can affect anyone, but it is more common and riskier for the following:
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Those with existing chronic ailments, such as diabetes and cancer
- Those with weak immune systems
Sepsis can progress to sepsis shock. In this stage, the victim’s blood pressure drops significantly. Sepsis shock is serious, and it can lead to death.
Symptoms of Sepsis
There is no single symptom for sepsis. It can be usually diagnosed with a combination of different symptoms, such as:
- The patient’s heart rate exceeds 90 beats per minute.
- The patient’s respiratory rate exceeds 20 breaths per minute.
- The patient’s body temperature exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit or is less than 96. 8 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The patient’s urine output has dramatically decreased.
- Sudden change in patient’s mental status.
- Confusion and disorientation of the patient.
- The patient has difficulty breathing.
- The patient’s platelet count has decreased.
- The patient feels abdominal pain.
How Do You Get Sepsis?
Anybody can get sepsis. However, an elderly or a child is more likely to get sepsis if they have an existing infection or ailment such as:
- kidney infection
- abdominal infection
- bloodstream infection
Patients who undergo invasive medical procedures are also at risk of getting sepsis. These procedures may introduce bacteria into the patient’s bloodstream, which can lead to an infection.
Sepsis is a serious problem and a challenge for hospitals because it is one of the leading causes of hospital deaths. It is also one of the common reasons why some patients are readmitted.
How is Sepsis Diagnosed?
Sepsis can be difficult to diagnose, especially in its early stages. Some of the symptoms of sepsis, such as fever, rapid heart rate, and rapid breathing are common with other health conditions.
Aside from checking for symptoms, the doctor will request for a test on the patient’s blood. This is done to check for an abnormal and significant increase in the patient’s white blood cells. It can also determine the presence of bacteria. Some doctors may also request for a chest X-ray or a CT scan.
How is Sepsis Treated?
Patients diagnosed with sepsis are usually treated in the hospital’s intensive care units. No developed medicine specifically treats sepsis, but sepsis is generally treated with the following:
- Intravenous fluids
- Kidney dialysis
- Other means to maintain blood flow to organs
- Surgery to remove serious infections
There are four ways to get ahead of sepsis, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These are:
- Prevent infections by taking care of existing conditions and getting vaccinated.
- Practice good hygiene by washing hands as needed and keeping cuts and wounds clean and covered.
- Be aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis.
- Act immediately if you have a worsening infection, or if you suspect you have sepsis.
Long Term Effects of Sepsis
Many people who recover from sepsis can move on and live their life normally. However, some suffer permanent organ damage. This is common with patients who have an existing chronic disease. A patient who has an existing kidney ailment and gets sepsis will most likely have kidney failure. This will require a lifetime of dialysis.
Severe sepsis can also disrupt the patient’s immune system. This makes him more at risk of future infection and other medical conditions.
Hospital Liability and Sepsis
Sepsis must be diagnosed and treated early to avoid sepsis shock. If not treated immediately, sepsis can lead to permanent organ failure. Your healthcare facility has a duty to diagnose and treat sepsis in its early stages. A misdiagnosis can lead to severe implications for the patient.
Hospital-acquired infection (HAI) can also lead to sepsis. An HAI is an infection that the patient gets while in a healthcare facility. The concentrated exposure to germs and invasive procedures and devices could introduce bacteria, which may lead to sepsis.
HAI’s can be caused by negligent hospital staff and medical malpractice. Failure to do proper sterilization of equipment and devices increases the risk of HAI’s. Failure to treat open wounds and sores, especially after an operation, can also introduce HAI’s.
Are you a Victim of Suspected Healthcare Negligence? Let The Clark Law Office Help You.
If you have a loved one who has contacted sepsis due to your practitioner’s negligence, seek legal help right away. Hospitals must be held liable for their negligence, especially if it leads to a more serious condition, or worse, wrongful death.
Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you establish your case and your claim. We at The Clark Law Office have helped many clients get just compensations for their medical treatment and loss. Call us now for a free legal consultation.