Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs in response to an infection in the body. Prompt identification and early treatment are essential to decrease the risk of the condition progressing and causing permanent damage or death.
Many different infections can trigger sepsis. While some cases may not be preventable, others are due to medical negligence and failure to provide timely medical treatment. Residents cared for in a nursing home have a higher risk of developing sepsis due to incidences of nursing home abuse.
Have you or a loved one suffered harm or injury from sepsis resulting from negligence?
Contact the personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.
We understand your situation and will fight to hold the negligent facility fully accountable under Illinois law to help you recover compensation for your loss.
Our bedsore lawyers accept all injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition that develops in response to an infection. The immune system functions to protect and fight infection. However, in sepsis’s development, the body’s immune response goes into overdrive, attacking tissue that results in organ failure.
Sepsis can cause tissue death and the destruction of vital organs. The condition can progress rapidly, so it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Failure to identify and treat sepsis in the early stages increases the risk of progression, organ failure, and in severe cases, death.
Common Causes of Sepsis and Risk Factors
Sepsis is the leading cause of death globally, resulting in 11 million deaths worldwide every year.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 1.7 million cases of sepsis occur in the United States each year, and sadly more than 270,000 people in America will die annually from sepsis.
Common infections that can lead to the development of sepsis include:
- Kidney disease and related infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Viral Infection of the lungs leading to pneumonia
- Infection of the bloodstream (bacteremia)
- Catheter site infections
- Abdominal infections
- Open wounds such as bedsores
- Deep tissue burns
Certain pre-existing medical conditions or population demographics can lead to an increased risk of developing sepsis or septic shock.
- People with compromised immune systems
- Elderly individuals
- Kidney or liver disease
- Insertion of devices such as catheters or breathing tubes
- Infants and young children
- Prolonged use of antibiotics or steroid medication
- Extended hospital stays or admission to an intensive care unit
- Nursing home residents
How Does Sepsis Progress and What Are The 3 Stages of Sepsis?
The diagnosis of sepsis is not made on the causative infection but rather on the development of signs and symptoms that suggest the body is reacting inappropriately to the infection.
Signs and symptoms of sepsis include:
- A sudden change in mental status or alertness
- Systolic blood pressure (the first number in pressure reading) measuring lower than 100 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury)
- A breathing rate of 22 breaths per minute or higher
- High levels of lactic acid in the blood indicate a lack of oxygen utilization in the body
As the immune system attacks its own tissue, the body progresses through the three stages of sepsis.
The first stage of sepsis can be challenging to identify as the symptoms typically present as the body’s response to the known infection.
A high or low body temperature, increased heart rate, and abnormalities in an individual’s white blood cell count can all be indicators that the process of sepsis in the body has begun.
Severe sepsis is the second stage where organ dysfunction and failure begin. Severe sepsis typically involves the presence of hypotension and a decreased blood flow to organs and connective tissues.
When severe sepsis occurs, tiny blood clots form, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the organs. Decreased blood and oxygen flow and subsequent organ dysfunction can present in symptoms such as low urinary output, changes in mental alertness, difficulty in breathing, and abdominal pain. A blood test may also indicate a low blood platelet count.
As the body moves through the three stages of sepsis, the condition becomes increasingly dangerous. In this stage of septic shock, the circulatory system and heart function deteriorate rapidly. Septic shock symptoms show a decreased circulatory system function that results in organ failure.
The symptoms of septic shock can intensify rapidly and signify that the body has progressed through the stages of sepsis without detection. Patients who develop severe sepsis and septic shock have higher mortality rates, thought to be approximately 30%- 50%.
Treatment for Sepsis
Early identification and treatment of sepsis are crucial in increasing the chances of survival and successful recovery. All of the stages of sepsis involve different treatments, and people with severe sepsis will require close monitoring in intensive care.
Medications in the Treatment of Sepsis and Associated Low Blood Pressure
- Antibiotics – used to fight off the sepsis causing infection
- Intravenous fluids – used to maintain adequate hydration to organs and tissue
- Vasopressors – these medications constrict blood vessels and help to increase blood pressure
- Steroids – low dose corticosteroids may reduce inflammation levels in the body
- Pain medications – are used to keep the patient more comfortable
Supportive Care in the Treatment of Sepsis
- Oxygen therapy – A ventilator or other equipment may be used to help you breathe and increase the levels of oxygen in your blood
- Kidney dialysis – If the kidneys are affected by sepsis, dialysis may be required to help filter the blood of toxic waste
Surgery in the Treatment of Sepsis
Different stages of sepsis and particularly severe sepsis and septic shock may require surgical treatment to remove infected dead tissue and abscesses that may have developed.
Nursing Home Abuse and Medical Malpractice Resulting in Sepsis
A nursing home has a legal responsibility to provide professional and compassionate care that adheres to all government regulations. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is an ongoing problem in the United States.
Elderly residents are more susceptible to infections as their immune function weakens with age. Residents may also have other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or cancer that place them at an even higher risk for infection.
While an elderly resident may already have a preexisting condition or infection before entering a facility, negligent care, and medical malpractice can contribute to the development of sepsis. For example, failure to provide adequate hygiene or physical care may lead to conditions such as bedsores that are prone to infection.
A recent investigation revealed that 25,000 nursing home residents die every year after being transferred to a hospital suffering from sepsis. In addition, 72% of nursing home facilities fail to engage in effective infection control programs.
Nursing home staff or medical professionals may also dismiss a resident’s medical complaints and fail to diagnose an infection that could lead to sepsis. If the nursing home resident does not receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate care, an infection can rapidly develop through the stages of sepsis.
How Do I Claim Compensation for Sepsis?
Sepsis is a serious life-threatening medical condition that causes victims significant trauma and financial burden in medical bills and lost wages. However, by contacting an attorney and proceeding with a personal injury claim, you may be able to obtain compensation.
A personal injury claim may provide compensation that covers:
- Medical expenses
- Wrongful death
- Loss of consortium
- Lost wages
- Physical rehabilitation programs
- Physical pain and ongoing suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
What Steps Do I Take to Start the Process of Compensation?
If you or a loved one have suffered from sepsis due to negligent care in a nursing home, do not hesitate to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC for immediate legal assistance. You must engage a professional nursing home abuse attorney to fight for a fair settlement and the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at (888) 424-5757 for immediate legal help, and schedule a free consultation to discuss your compensation case.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys are experts in this field. We provide a professional and compassionate service, ensuring you are entirely supported through your compensation claim.
We accept all personal injury and nursing home abuse cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you pay nothing until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our law firm remains private through an attorney-client relationship.