Sepsis is a medical condition that occurs when a person has an existing infection. Specifically, it happens when certain chemicals that are released by the immune system to fight the infection instead have a negative effect that causes inflammation. Sepsis can be life-threatening and cause death if it isn’t diagnosed and treated promptly. When sepsis occurs due to medical negligence, patients (or their families in cases of death) may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the doctor, hospital, or other responsible parties.
There are four elements necessary to prove negligence in medical malpractice cases like sepsis. These elements are:
It is typically the second point that is the most difficult to prove. Because of that, it’s important to hire a medical malpractice attorney who is knowledgeable about sepsis cases to review your records and the decisions the doctor made to identify whether negligence occurred.
Many people who develop sepsis do so as a result of infections they contracted while in the hospital. These cases are unfortunate because you go to the hospital with the expectation that you will get better, not suffer a hospital-acquired infection (HAI) that leads to sepsis. However, these cases occur in hospitals all the time.
Some of the most common types of HAIs that could lead to sepsis include:
Multiple factors raise the risk of developing sepsis while in the hospital. Perhaps the biggest is that patients in a hospital are exposed to a wide variety of illnesses and germs. Additionally, patients may have weakened immune systems as a result of their conditions, which makes them more susceptible to foreign germs.
Some patients require invasive treatments for their illnesses, like an IV, ventilator, catheter, central line, and others. When something foreign is introduced into the body, even those that are designed to help a patient recover, it provides the perfect entryway for infections.
While hospitals can be breeding grounds for infections, medical professionals who are diligent when it comes to their duties can prevent many of these infections from occurring. Unfortunately, it all too common for someone to make a mistake that will result in an HAI and potentially the development of sepsis. Some of the common errors that are made include:
Hospitals are held to a particular standard of care when it comes to treating patients — and this includes preventing HAIs and sepsis whenever possible. When a hospital fails to meet that standard of care and injures a patient, the patient should hold the hospital liable.
Proving liability in cases of sepsis can be complicated and difficult. It requires investigation into specific medical conditions of the patient and the hospital. How the patient acquired the infection, whether the condition was diagnosed and treated promptly enough, and whether the sepsis was preventable are all key points that have to be determined. In these types of cases, it isn’t always easy to figure out who or what is responsible for the patient’s infection and sepsis.
If you or a loved one acquired sepsis while in the hospital, you should speak to a medical malpractice attorney. At Ross Feller Casey, our attorneys are experienced in handling sepsis and septic shock cases and have a track record of successfully proving liability and negligence on the part of hospitals and medical providers. We also have a team of leading physicians on staff to review your medical records and find where mistakes were made.
Contact our office for your free case evaluation by one of our leading sepsis attorneys who will help you determine how to proceed. Our medical malpractice cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay until there is a financial recovery for your claim.
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