Cincinnati, Ohio Hospital Negligence Lawyer and Medical Malpractice Attorney investigates sepsis misdiagnosis lawsuits for injured plaintiffs nationwide
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 failure to diagnose can lead to wrongful death and the premature loss of a loved one.
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.
Sepsis Symptoms & Delayed 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 Infection 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 & Medical Malpractice
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.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to delayed treatment or a failure to diagnose, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding sepsis misdiagnosis lawsuits.