Chicago Sepsis Lawyer Pursing Cases Against Negligent Nursing Homes
When a Chicago, IL nursing home patient develops a severe infection or sepsis as a result of negligent care, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC holds the facility accountable for their negligence or wrongful death.
What is Sepsis?Sepsis (septicemia) is a life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection in the bloodstream that frequently enters the body through open wounds or pressure sores.
Doctors characterize sepsis as a severe infection that is spread throughout the body.
The deadly condition sometimes referred to as severe sepsis, sepsis infection, septic shock, severe sepsis, or septicemia, must be diagnosed and treated as early on as possible to improve the patient's chance of survival and possibility for recovery.
Sepsis is diagnosed through a comprehensive physical examination and tests that include:
- Heart rate above 90 beats per minute
- Hyperventilation (more than 20 breaths per minute)
- White blood cell count below 4000 cells/mm
Unfortunately, a diagnosis of sepsis in an elderly person may be a grim diagnosis with many people requiring extensive medical care or even death.
Our law firm has prosecuted cases where nursing home patients have developed sepsis during their admission to a Chicago, IL long-term care facility.
Responsibility of Nursing Home Staff to Prevent Sepsis & InfectionsNursing homes have a legal responsibility to provide patients with medical care that complies with industry standards-- including infection prevention protocols.
For example, nursing homes need to implement basic infection prevention techniques such as:
- Staff regularly washing hands, particularly when caring for new patients
- Wearing personal protective equipment and removing after use
- Disposing single use medical equipment after use
- Isolating patients with known infections
- Cleaning rooms and bathrooms with proper sanitation
Why Nursing Home Patients Are At Risk For SepsisThe complications of the simple, manageable infection can easily develop into sepsis when the resident has a compromised immune system.
The body's reaction to fight an infection often causes the release of chemicals which creates an inflammatory response at one or more points in the body.
Many residents in nursing facilities who acquire an infection will experience septic shock when their blood pressure drops quickly.
There are other risk factors and medical conditions associated with the elderly developing sepsis that include:
- Advanced Age – Most cases of sepsis in the United States involve elderly people.
- Injuries or Wounds – The healing process in the elderly is often significantly longer than and younger, healthier patients, which makes it challenging for a wound or injury to heal completely.
- Compromised Immune System – Many nursing home residents developed a compromised immune system while battling multiple diseases at once, including an infection.
- Medical Malpractice and Medication Errors – Staff members making mistakes can lead to severe problems including infected wounds.
- The Use of Breathing Tubes and Intravenous (IV) Catheters – The use of these devices can create an ideal environment for bacterial growth that could, over time, degrade to a blood infection (sepsis) due to the resident's compromised immune system.
- Existing Conditions or Advancing Illness –Battling more than one illness at a time could stress the body to the point where it is unable to fight off a sepsis infection.
Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis in Your Loved OneA quick diagnosis and immediate treatment of sepsis are crucial to the patient's survival. Because of that, it is important to understand how the infection presents itself in a Chicago, IL area nursing home resident.
Immediate medical care is required if the your loved one is experiencing:
- Fast heart rate
- Intense chills
- Abdominal pain
- Blood poisoning
- Hyperventilation (quick breathing)
- Difficulty urinating
- A drop in blood pressure
- Unexpected high fever
- Hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature)
- Cognitive impairment including memory loss
- Difficulty breathing
- Blood clots
- Kidney failure
- Pale skin
- Wrongful Death
Sample Chicago, Illinois Sepsis SettlementOur law firm secured a $550,000 wrongful death settlement for the family of a nursing home patient who developed a stage four pressure sore during an admission to a Cook County facility.
Even though the facility was providing wound care, the patient eventually developed septic shock which resulted in his death. The settlement was achieved during pre-litigation negotiations with our sepsis attorney and insurance company for the Chicago nursing facility.
Nursing Home Sepsis & Infection FAQs
Of course, should you have additional questions, we welcome you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with one of our experienced sepsis lawyers.
What are the Stages of Sepsis?
Medical professionals categorize people with sepsis according to the severity of their condition. The categorization helps provide a unified system for treatment.
There are three different stages of sepsis including the initial infection (sepsis) which is associated with a fever, elevated heart and respiratory rates.
The second category of sepsis is severe sepsis which is categorized by organ failure in the addition to the above conditions. Organ failure can be manifested in a variety of ways such as unconsciousness, patchy colored skin and decreased urine output.
The third and most severe stage of sepsis is referred to as septic shock. People with septic shock generally have symptoms of severe sepsis and very low blood pressure. Most people with septic shock die from complications.
How is Sepsis Treated?
If a hospital determines that a person has severe sepsis, they may prescribe additional medical care including but not limited to continuous renal replacement (a type of dialysis), arterial lines, central lines.
People with septic shock may also require medical equipment such as an endotracheal tube, intercranial pressure monitor, NG tube or a catheter to help the person's body remove toxins from their body.
It is crucial that nursing homes get medical attention as soon as possible as the window of opportunity to treat sepsis is relatively small. If not treated quickly, the condition can turn fatal.
What are the Most Common Types of Infection in Nursing Home Patients?
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – UTIs typically develop from limited mobility, a diabetic condition, or catheter use.
Skin Infections and Open Wounds – Cellulitis, shingles, and fungal or bacterial infections can cause common skin infections. Some nursing home residents developed MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a strain highly resistant to antibiotics.
Bedsores – Pressure ulcers, pressure sores, pressure wounds, and decubitus ulcers begin as a reddened area on the resident's skin within ninety minutes of immobility. The sore can quickly degrade to a stage IV life-threatening bedsore creating an open wound exposing bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons, and tissue. Without appropriate, immediate medical attention, the patient can die within weeks due to life-threatening septic (blood infection) or osteomyelitis (bone infection) condition.
Influenza – Nursing home residents live in a closed environment that increases the susceptibility of acquiring a highly contagious and often fatal influenza disease. Without proper treatment, influenza can develop into pneumonia which remains the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One out of every nine deaths caused by influenza involves the elderly.
Gastrointestinal (G.I.) Infection – The close proximity of elderly residents in a long-term care facility and the susceptibility of infection caused by a weakened immune system creates the ideal environment to spread contagious infections. Many residents will develop highly infectious Helicobacter pylori or other systemic infections..
Clostridium difficile (C. Diff) - Bacterial condition that is easily transmittable to other residents, or even the nursing home staff.
Is Sepsis Considered to be Abuse or Neglect?
Yes, anytime a resident in a long-term care facility does not get adequate care or medical symptoms are ignored is an indication of neglect or abuse. Our Chicago nursing home negligence attorneys are committed to holding medical facilities and nursing homes fully accountable when a patient develops a severe case of sepsis.
What Damages can be Recovered in a Sepsis Lawsuit Against a Skilled Nursing Facility?
Economic damages generally include past and future medical expenses related to the condition.
Non-economic damages generally refer to the pain and suffering your loved one endured when they were injured due and the pain experienced while they were receiving medical treatment. Illinois does not have any limits or 'caps' on non-economic damages.
The amount of a negotiated settlement or jury trial award for a wrongful death involving a sepsis infection varies on the specifics of the claim such as the age and the underlying medical condition of the person involved.
However, in the United States, the plaintiffs (surviving family members) file a sepsis wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant (nursing home) to settlement amounts of about $400,000 on average.
A sepsis lawyer can provide guidance in terms of the value of a case.
Chicago, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Working on Sepsis CasesRosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC understands the devastation to the individual when nursing home patients develop sepsis.
Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers draw upon our network of experts in the field of nursing care and sepsis care, we are prepared to fully evaluate Chicago sepsis cases to hold the negligent facility fully accountable.
As Illinois nursing home sepsis lawyers who regularly prosecute these cases, we pride ourselves on the detail-oriented nature of our case evaluation where we anticipate many of the defenses raised in these cases from the inception of our involvement.
This preemptive mindset allows our consulting physicians to review the case and provide evidence in prosecuting your pressure sore lawsuits to a successful resolution.
If your family member developed sepsis at a long-term care facility we invite you to discuss your case with a Chicago sepsis attorney.
Call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for a free case evaluation today. We accept all nursing home abuse and neglect cases through contingency fee agreements.
This arrangement will postpone payment of all our legal services until we have successfully resolved your case through a jury trial or negotiated settlement.
Our law firm discussions with you during your free consultation will remain confidential through an attorney-client relationship. Please don't reveal sensitive information with our law office in a voicemail, text message, contact form.
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If you have any questions concerning nursing home neglect or abuse, contact us today for a free case review of your nursing home sepsis case today.
Our Chicago, Illinois law firm currently represents clients throughout the United States and Illinois, including the following localities: Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Naperville, LaSalle, and Berwyn.