October 22, 2017

Did Sepsis or Septic Shock Medical Malpractice Lead to a Life-Threatening Infection?

In simple terms, “Sepsis” is a severe illness caused by infection in the body. The infection leading to sepsis may begin from any site of infection with common sources including urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or open wounds such as bedsores, cellulitus, etc. “Bacteremia” is closely related to sepsis as it is simply an infection in the blood. “Septicemia” is likewise another name for a blood infection.  If appropriate and timely measures are not taken to prevent the development of sepsis or bacteremia, and to treat it once it manifests itself, patients’ lives are unnecessarily put at risk.

The incidence of sepsis, and septic shock (hypotension or multiple organ system failure resulting from sepsis) has been increasing since the 1930s, and recent evidence indicates this trend will continue.  According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, infection-related deaths affect over 1 million people a year and cost nearly $17 billion annually.  Severe sepsis  is one of the most common causes of death in critical care units, and ranks as the 10th most common cause of death in the United States.  While pinpointing an exact number of deaths attributable to sepsis is not known,  it is estimated that each year there are 750,000 cases of sepsis each year in the United States.  Although much has been learned as to the causes of infection-related deaths, the medical community stills struggles with preventing these types of diseases.

Signs & Symptoms of Sepsis

The signs and symptoms of sepsis and septic shock usually arise in three ways.  First, the underlying source of infection will usually exhibit its own indicators.  If, for instance,  a patient has a urinary tract infection they may experience upper abdominal pain and difficulty urinating.  A patient with a  bedsore may show inflammation, redness, and infection.  Second, the body’s response to the infection often results in fever, shaking chills, changes in mental status, and/or rapid respiratory rate.  Finally, the body will show signs of shock resulting from the sepsis, including hypo-tension, lactic academia, and progressive organ system dysfunction.

Medical malpractice is a broad term generally used to describe any treatment, lack of treatment, or other departure from accepted standards of medical care, health care, or safety on the part of a health care provider that causes harm to a patient.  In the case of sepsis or septic shock, if a healthcare provider fails to prevent or treat the underlying source of infection, then the sepsis, septicemia, bacteremia, and/or septic shock can result. Given that infection can arise in many contexts, it is beyond the scope of this article to address every type of malpractice which can lead to otherwise preventable sepsis-related deaths. By way of example, however, too often improper catheter care in nursing homes result in otherwise preventable urinary tract infections which develop into sepsis. Likewise, too often patients are permitted to develop bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) which become infected and place the patient at risk for sepsis. Once infection has developed, failing to timely treat known infections with aggressive and proper antibiotic therapy can result in an otherwise treatable infection developing into sepsis, septic shock, septicemia and/or bacteremia.

Don’t Miss the Deadline for Filing Your Medical Malpractice Claim.

Time is of the essence when pursuing a medical malpractice claim. Indiana law imposes strict deadlines (also called “statutes of limitations”) in medical malpractice cases that will forever bar the claim if it is not filed in a timely manner. The law relating to the deadline can be exceedingly complex; therefore, one should not delay in consulting a qualified medical negligence attorney to determine the applicable statute of limitations and review the case.

Request a Free Evaluation of Your Claim Today.

If you believe you may have a potential medical malpractice claim, the Powless Law Firm, P.C. would like to help.  You can request a free case consultation today by calling us at 877-769-5377 or by submitting the free case consultation request form on this page.  Here is important information you should know about us:

  • ● We concentrate upon medical malpractice and nursing home neglect claims only, and have years of experience and success in doing so.
  • ● We never represent the negligent hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare providers or their insurers.
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  • ● We accept cases on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if we obtain a recovery for you.
  • ● We work with a variety of highly qualified medical experts to thoroughly evaluate and present our cases.
  • ● We are committed to providing the attention and resources required in these complex cases to help make a difference for those harmed by medical negligence, and to help force changes that will help protect others.
  • ● We accept cases anywhere in Indiana.
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