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Sepsis is the body’s toxic life-threatening response to infection that commonly leads to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. The immune system, when functioning properly, works to fight off dangerous bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites in order to prevent infection.

If an infection is present, the immune system attempts to fight it, often with the help of antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics. Sometimes, however, the immune system turns on itself, and triggers a septic response.

Sepsis is an acute illness requiring urgent treatment to prevent permanent injury and death. Sepsis can begin with merely a minor infection and the body can self-destruct by attacking its own tissue and internal organs. Sepsis misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or a Diagnostic Error can lead to wrongful death and the premature loss of a loved one.

Joe Lyon is an experienced medical malpractice lawyer and delayed diagnosis attorney investigating sepsis misdiagnosis lawsuits and failure to diagnose cases for plaintiffs nationwide.

What Causes Sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by an overwhelming immune response to an existing infection. The body works to combat the infection, releasing chemicals that may trigger a more widespread inflammation. Sepsis can lead to blood clots and leaking blood vessels. The inflammation and clotting can impair blood flow and deprive organs of nutrients and oxygen.

Blood pressure drops, and septic shock will lead to organs like lungs, kidneys, liver to fail. Sepsis is a major issue in hospitals, and a large reason many patients are readmitted to hospitals.

There are several types of microbes that can cause sepsis, though bacteria—often antibiotic-resistant bacteria—are the most common cause. In some sepsis cases, bloodstream infection cannot be detected, and doctors may fail to diagnose sepsis.

It’s possible for sepsis to develop from simply a small cut that gets infected or an infection that develops after a hospital stay.

Delayed Sepsis Diagnosis

Certain groups of individuals are more susceptible to sepsis, including patients with diabetes, cancer, HIV infection or those who are immunosuppressed. The elderly and newborns are at a higher risk, and physicians should be aware of a patient’s vulnerabilties.

It is crucial for hospital staff, nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors to recognize the signs of sepsis and septic shock before a patient succumbs to the dangerous condition. Common symptoms may include the following:

  • Extremes of body temperature
  • Frantic breathing patterns
  • Rapid heartbeat with rapid deterioration
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Deteriorating mental state
  • Decrease of systolic blood pressure
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Unusual skin problems
  • High levels of lactic acid in the blood

Delayed Sepsis Treatment

Sepsis develops in more than 1.5 million hospital patients each year in the United States, and claims tens of thousands of lives. There has been an increased rate of sepsis deaths in the last two decades, and delayed sepsis treatment is suspected in many wrongful death cases. This increased rate of sepsis cases is likely due to several factors, including:

  • An increased ability to diagnose sepsis
  • People with chronic diseases are living longer
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections often lead to sepsis
  • Organ transplant operations are more common

Even one hour can make a difference in diagnosing and treating sepsis before septic shock can claim a life. There are hospital guidelines established for diagnosing and treating sepsis, and when these guidelines are not followed, a malpractice lawsuit may be viable. Delayed treatment and delayed antibiotic treatment can contribute to septic deaths.

Doctors typically treat sepsis patients in intensive care units. The goal is stopping the infection, protecting vital organs, and preventing a drop in blood pressure. The treatment almost always includes antibiotic medications.

Sepsis Misdiagnosis Lawsuits

Delayed treatment of a failure to diagnose sepsis can be devastating and deadly. Severe injury and fatal outcomes can be prevented, however, when doctors and nurses remain cautious and perform their duties as medical professionals.

Amputations, brain injuries and death are not uncommon following sepsis misdiagnosis, and legal action may be necessary to hold those liable responsible and prevent future injuries to other patients.

Sepsis survivors may have permanent organ damage. There is also evidence that serious cases of sepsis disrupt a person’s immune system, making them more at risk for future infections.

Healthcare facilities and staff should be aware of all the warning signs of sepsis and septic shock, particularly with diabetics and cancer patients at higher risk.

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious, permanent injury or preventable death, due to a delayed treatment, failure to diagnose sepsis misdiagnosis, you may be able to recover medical costs, long-term disability and other damages.

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A Voice for Those who have suffered 

Why are these cases important?

The transition into a nursing home is difficult for both patients and their families. It is a sacrifice, and residents rely heavily on the compassion and competence of nursing home staff and management to provide the best care possible. When nursing homes fail to provide the professional care they promise, and injuries and deaths result, they may be held accountable by Ohio law.

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Questions about Nursing Home Neglect Cases

What is nursing home neglect litigation?

Nursing home neglect has been a serious issue for decades now, and the management of facilities must be held accountable when instances of negligence affect your family.

If an Ohio nursing home fails to provide the professional care they have advertised, and patient injuries and deaths result, the companies may be held responsible in Ohio courts. Large settlements have resulted from the families of victims filing injury claims against Diversicare, Genesis, ManorCare and Laurel homes.

What are common types of nursing home abuse?

Nursing home neglect injuries may result from understaffing, underqualified staff, bad management and poor communication. Abuse and neglect can result in dangerous bedsores and other serious infections. Common types of nursing home abuse may include:

Does a fall in the nursing home count?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from dangerous falls each year. Residents who survive falls may sustain hip or head injuries which can lead to permanent disabilities.

Because of the new surroundings and staff neglect, many newly admitted nursing home residents will suffer a fall shortly after their arrival. Understaffing is a big factor in these injuries, and the management of nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent falls and accidents.

What about Bed Sores?

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, and skin lesions can be very painful and lead to more serious health problems if not treated promptly. Nursing home staff are well aware that patients confined to beds need to be turned regularly to reduce the risk of developing ulcers. However, when nursing homes are understaffed or fail to properly attend to residents, patients suffer the consequences.

Bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers, are injuries to skin and underlying tissue from prolonged skin pressure. Bedsores commonly develop on bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. Common Contributing Factors for Bedsores:

  • Pressure—bedsores are caused by pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin. Blood flow is essential to delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissue.
  • Friction—skin rubbing against clothing or bedding makes skin more vulnerable to injury.
  • Immobility
  • Overmedicated patients
  • Understaffing at nursing homes
  • Lack of sensory perception
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Nursing home neglect
  • Medical conditions affecting blood flow—diabetes and vascular disease

People most at risk of bedsores have medical conditions that limit their ability to change positions on their own. Bedsores can develop quickly. Most sores heal with treatment, but some are more severe and lead to serious drug resistant infections. Other signs of nursing abuse include:

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Restraint marks
  • Lack of hygiene maintenance
  • Untidy living conditions
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Bedsores and poor skin conditions
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Unusually sedated residents
  • Weight loss
  • Broken bones & fractures
  • Bruising from unknown injuries
  • A patient that withdraws socially over time
  • Entirely non-communicative patient
  • A fear of physical contact

Bedsores are categorized into four stages, based on their depth, severity and other characteristics. They include:

  • Stage I—a persistent redness, swelling and tenderness on a patient’s skin.
  • Stage II—a loss of some of skin thickness. Appears as a blister, abrasion or shallow crater.
  • Stage III—damage to the full thickness of the skin. A deep lesion or crater is present.
  • Stage IV—a complete loss of the skin. Muscle or bone is exposed.

A bedsore can advance quickly when patients do not receive proper treatment and care in a nursing home or assisted living center. There are various factors associated with developing bedsores, though most involve neglect, understaffing, overmedicating, a lack of nutritional care and patient immobility.

Common Sites of Pressure Sores

  • Tailbone & Buttocks
  • Shoulder blades
  • Spine
  • Backs of arms & legs
  • Back or sides of the head
  • Hips
  • Lower back
  • Heels & ankles
  • Behind the knees

Complications of Bedsores & Skin Infections

  • Cellulitis—an infection of the skin and connected soft tissues.
  • Bone and joint infections—Infections from pressure sores can pass into joints and bones, damaging cartilage and tissue. Bone infections may reduce the function of joints and limbs.
  • Amputation
  • Sepsis
  • Cancer—long-term, unhealed wounds can develop into a type of squamous cell carcinoma
Do these cases settle?

Nursing homes tend to settle out of court when accidents and wrongful deaths occur, and you may seek legal counsel to guide you through the legal process. 

Why Hire the Lyon Firm?

Our Firm will help you find the answers.  The Firm has the experience, resources and dedication to take on difficult and emotional cases and help our clients obtain the justice for the wrong they have suffered. 

 Experience:  Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer. The Lyon Firm has 17 years of experience and success representing individuals and plaintiffs in all fifty states, and in a variety of complex civil litigation matters.   Nursing Home lawsuits can be complex and require industry experts to determine the root cause of an accident or injury. Mr. Lyon has worked with experts nationwide to assist individuals understand why an injury occurred and what can be done to improve their lives in the future. Some cases may go to a jury trial, though many others can be settled out of court.

Resources/Dedication: Mr. Lyon has worked with experts in the fields of accident reconstruction, biomechanics, epidemiology, metallurgy, pharmacology, toxicology, human factors, workplace safety, life care planning, economics, and virtually every medical discipline in successfully representing Plaintiffs across numerous areas of law. The Lyon Firm is dedicated to building the strongest cases possible for clients and their critical interests.

Results:  Mr. Lyon has obtained numerous seven and six figure results in personal injury,  automotive product liability, medical Negligence, construction accidents, and auto dealership negligence cases.  The cases have involved successfully litigating against some of  the largest companies in the world 

Your Right to Safety

Your Loved Ones Should Not Have to Suffer in Their Homes

The elderly population in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around Ohio frequently suffer injuries like bedsores due to understaffing and neglect. Some underlying issues that lead to dangerous skin ulcers include improper medication, a lack of supervision, malnutrition, inadequate wound care, and a delay in sending patients to medical centers and hospitals. These severe injuries are almost always preventable, and nursing homes have a duty to ensure that residents are kept safe and as healthy as possible. Nursing home neglect may lead to severe infection, amputations, and death.

Good quality care in nursing homes includes evaluating medical quality, nurse staff levels, sanitary conditions, and health inspection reports.Overall staffing appears to be a huge factor in the level of care provided. Residents need continual attention and reports aim to monitor the average hours a day a patient receives care from registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and certified nurse assistants.

Popular Ohio Nursing Home Management
that have Faced Penalty

In recent years, several Ohio nursing homes have faced personal injury claims for failing to protect residents. 

Diversicare of St. Theresa

Cincinnati, Ohio

Diversicare of Siena Woods

Dayton, Ohio

Diversicare of Bradford Place

Hamilton, Ohio

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