When Is Sepsis Considered Medical Malpractice?


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Startling findings of a just-released study suggest that sepsis, a medical condition that often escapes public notice, is involved in as many as one in five deaths worldwide. And the disease, sometimes referred to as blood poisoning, is surprisingly common in the U.S., with an estimated 1.7 million cases reported annually, leading to 270,000 deaths. Those statistics are more than double what was previously believed.

While there are sepsis cases that occur due to infections that couldn’t have been prevented, there are also many cases, some that even cause death, that could’ve been completely avoided. When those types of cases harm or kill an individual, it may be due to medical negligence, for which the responsible party or entity could be found liable.

What Is Sepsis?

Contrary to what many believe, sepsis itself isn’t an infection. Rather, it’s a potential complication of all types of infections. Essentially, sepsis is the presence of harmful bacteria and their toxins in the tissues of the body. It’s most commonly a result of an infection in a wound. Sepsis occurs with an individual’s immune system releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight infection. Instead of doing so, they cause inflammation throughout the body.

Developing sepsis can be life-threatening, and it often is fatal when left untreated. Those people who have compromised immune systems or chronic medical conditions have a higher risk of developing sepsis.

What Causes Sepsis?

Sepsis often occurs due to a prior infection in the body that hasn’t been fought off by the patient’s immune system. Infection that develops into sepsis can happen in any part of the body. But most of the time, it involves some sort of skin infection, like that around surgical incisions and bedsores. That means that people in nursing homes that are not very mobile, and patients who have just had surgery are typically the most at risk of developing sepsis. As a result, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals need to closely monitor patients for the early warning signs of sepsis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential to having a good outcome for patients with sepsis.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Sepsis?

Not recognizing the early signs and symptoms of sepsis can result in the condition advancing to septic shock. This can have devastating effects, including limb and organ damage and even death. These are the signs to watch out for:

  • Existing infection
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • High fevers and chills
  • Trouble breathing, shortness of breath
  • Low blood pressure
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Abnormal urine stream
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cool, pale skin

If the above symptoms are not treated promptly and correctly, septic shock may develop. If that happens, the patient’s blood pressure will remain very low despite medical attempts to raise it.

How Does Medical Malpractice Cause Sepsis?

In many sepsis cases, patients have a valid medical malpractice claim if a doctor failed to prevent, diagnose, or properly treat the condition. If any of the following occurred, and you developed sepsis as a result, you may have a claim for malpractice:

  • Failure to recognize an infection
  • Failure to recognize sepsis
  • Delay in treating the infection or sepsis
  • Not performing the right urine, blood, and wound secretion tests
  • Not administering the right antibiotics
  • Not cleaning the IV lines properly
  • Not providing the proper fluids
  • Failure to inform the patient properly
  • Failure to obtain the proper informed consent

Get Help For Your Sepsis Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Sepsis is a medical emergency, and it requires immediate medical attention. If you or your loved one developed sepsis while in a hospital, you must seek legal representation right away. An experienced medical malpractice attorney who is knowledgeable about sepsis, septic shock, and sepsis-related death, will be able to help you proceed with your claim.

At Ross Feller Casey, we will review your medical records and build your case while you concentrate on your recovery. We have a team of leading medical doctors on staff to investigate your records to see where negligence took place and successful medical malpractice attorneys who will make sure that you are compensated for your damages. We have helped many families like yours win multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts because we are prepared to take every sepsis lawsuit to trial.

Contact our office today for your free case evaluation. Our medical malpractice lawyers will help you determine the best way to proceed with your claim. All of our medical malpractice cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means there is no charge to you until we make a financial recovery.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.