Sepsis infection

Sepsis Can Be Evidence Of Malpractice

If you’ve developed sepsis while in the care of a medical professional, it could be evidence of malpractice. Sepsis is a serious and potentially fatal condition that requires immediate attention. And you could be facing significant medical expenses to recover from it. The medical malpractice attorneys of Hale & Monico can review your case and determine your legal options for holding the doctor or medical facility liable.

Defining Sepsis

Sepsis is sometimes mistakenly equated to an infection in the bloodstream. Actually, it can occur as a result of the body’s response to an infection. The human body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight infections. But if these chemicals are out of balance, they can cause inflammation and damage to the organs. If sepsis becomes serious enough it can trigger septic shock, a severe drop in blood pressure that can lead to death.

Most often, patients who have been hospitalized will develop sepsis. The complication is also frequently found in neglected nursing home patients. If you or a loved one were recently in a hospital or other care setting and had these symptoms, they could be due to sepsis:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Extremely low body temperature
  • Less than normal urination
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Patients may enter the hospital with a pre-existing infection that is misdiagnosed and therefore not treated. But they often acquire an infection during their stay which later turns into sepsis. Medical negligence can explain why this happens. Some specific examples of negligence include:

  • Improper sterilization of medical equipment and devices
  • Poor care of surgical wounds, resulting in improper healing
  • General lack of sterile conditions in the operating room or hospital
  • Defective medical products
  • The development of, and failure to treat, bedsores

Sepsis often happens because of inaction. The doctor or other medical professional doesn’t take care of the surgical wounds, the bedsores, or the clear symptoms of sepsis. Intravenous lines and other medical equipment is not properly sterilized when it could have been. The patient is not given antibiotics or doesn’t have them administered properly.

Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals are obligated to conduct themselves in accordance with the standards of their profession. That means acting as a reasonable practitioner would, given the same or similar circumstances. When they don’t, there’s strong evidence that malpractice was committed.

Why It’s Important to Call a Medical Malpractice Attorney

A malpractice lawyer can help you or your loved one hold the doctor or facility responsible for your sepsis. Typically it will involve consulting an expert witness who can testify about the applicable standards of care that healthcare professionals owe patients. An expert witness can also discuss how those standards were breached and how they led to sepsis.

It can take significant medical expense to help someone recover from sepsis. It requires the extensive use of antibiotics, hospitalization, and patient monitoring. This level of treatment will render the patient unable to work for a period of time, causing lost wages. And sometimes, the patient cannot go back to work at the same level of productivity as before.

The medical professional or facility, not the patient, should be responsible for these and other costs related to sepsis. We aim to make sure this happens. Call Hale & Monico today if you developed sepsis after a medical procedure.