Sepsis is an extreme reaction a person’s body can have to infection, and it can happen to anyone. The CDC reports that in any given year, 1.7 million adults in America develop sepsis, and more than 100,000 of those patients die during their hospitalization.
But sepsis shouldn’t lead to these levels of complications because if diagnosed properly or treated appropriately, the condition isn’t deadly. Your doctor or medical staff should recognize sepsis symptoms, and the proper medication should be prescribed when it is spotted. Otherwise they need to be held accountable.
What is Sepsis?
When a person gets an infection, the body reacts. Sometimes it fights it off, sometimes it gets worse. Sepsis is an extreme reaction to an infection. If an infection develops into sepsis, it’s considered life-threatening.
Sepsis infection can affect anyone, but people are at higher risk when very young, older, pregnant or have other health problems.
What Leads to Sepsis?
Typically, sepsis is caused by bacterial infections, but can also come along after viruses, parasites and fungi.
Germs entering the body can cause infection and if the infection isn’t stopped, it can get worse – eventually leading to sepsis. Bacterial infections are the most common type of infection leading to sepsis, but most people who develop sepsis have an underlying medical condition like a weakened immune system.
What are Sepsis Symptoms?
Since sepsis is developed from infection, that’s the most obvious initial symptom. Between a quarter and a third of people with sepsis have a healthcare visit the week before they are hospitalized—so another sign is that you aren’t feeling well.
Aside from generally not feeling well or having an active infection, what are other symptoms to look out for?
- Raised heart rate or a weak pulse
- Fever, shivering, feeling very cold
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
Can Sepsis be Caused by Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional, like a doctor or a nurse, doesn’t perform their job as they should, and it causes harm to a patient. When a healthcare practitioner provides substandard care to a patient, it can lead to further injury and sometimes catastrophic outcomes.
Medical malpractice is a way to hold healthcare providers accountable for their mistakes and to make sure patients are protected.
Keches Law Trial Attorney Julie Jyang says when it comes to infections, medical mistakes can make a situation worse.
“Doctors might miss the early signs of an infection, or fail to realize how serious an infection is, allowing it to worsen and potentially lead to sepsis,” she says. “Medication errors can weaken your ability to fight off an infection setting the stage for sepsis as well.”
In addition, Jyang says after surgery, proper care is crucial and if a wound isn’t treated properly, it can become infected and result in sepsis.
If a patient has suffered sepsis due to one these mistakes, he or she may have legal recourse.
Medical malpractice attorneys from Keches Law can help review the evidence of what happened, where the infection came from, and what happened after the patient began suffering from the infection. Did the medical team respond properly? Could they have stopped the infection from occurring or developing into sepsis?
What Should I Do If I Develop Sepsis and Suspect Medical Malpractice?
If you have developed sepsis and believe either your current condition, the condition that led to it or any other aspect of your illness and hospital stay could have been negatively impacted by medical negligence, you need to know what to do.
- Speak up: If something doesn’t seem right, ask questions. You know your body best and you are your best advocate. Your medical team should be there to help you, if you don’t think they are best serving you, let them know.
- Stay informed: Learn about your condition and treatment so that you can be an informed party to the conversation. Look into sepsis, and see if it matches up with what you are currently experiencing.
- Keep records: Keep track of your medical history and treatments. Having a detailed list of what you have been through and what your medical team is doing is a good place to start in a medical malpractice case.
- Seek legal action: Legal action can be very effective in holding a healthcare provider accountable and to help prevent future errors. Keches Law Group is ready to help you if you feel you need it.
Keches Law Group Can Help
Keches Law Group’s skilled and experienced medical malpractice lawyers are prepared to assist you. If you believe you have a medical malpractice case related to sepsis, please contact us. Our team is here to help.