The Prevalence of Sepsis in the U.S.
Sepsis is one of the most dangerous medical conditions in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, over 1 million cases of sepsis are diagnosed each year in this country. Whether it’s acquired after a surgery or in a long term care setting like a nursing home, sepsis remains one of the top causes of death in the U.S. It ranks 9th on the list of top causes of disease-related deaths and kills over 250,000 people each year. That’s about 685 people a day.
Related: Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Decreasing, But Deaths Due to Medical Errors Increasing
However, the general public knows very little about sepsis. One of the more troubling aspects of sepsis is that when caught early enough, patients usually recover with antibiotics and IV fluid treatment. However, it is often caught too late, or not at all. For the elderly, very young or those with weakened immune systems, sepsis often leads to death when not caught early enough. If not fatal, sepsis can lead to severe long-term symptoms including brain damage.
Sepsis occurs when the body reacts to an infection, such as the introduction or spread of bacteria in the body. Chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection cause an inflammatory response in the body which can cause damage to tissues in the body, including organs. Pneumonia, as well as abdominal, urinary, kidney and bloodstream infections are the most common infections which can result in sepsis. Left untreated, sepsis can lead to septic shock.
As medical malpractice lawyers, we see sepsis in all types of medical settings including hospitals. Sepsis can occur due to the following:
- negligent surgical procedures,
- post-surgical infections (or hospital acquired infections), and
- kidney or urinary tract infections.
Surgical Errors & Sepsis
Negligence during surgery, especially abdominal/gastric surgery, can cause serious infections and ultimately lead to sepsis. During an abdominal surgery, the surgeon may make a mistake, such as perforating the intestines or failing to correct the underlying problem. If the error is not corrected or caught in time, the contents of the intestines, stomach, etc., can empty into the abdominal cavity, causing a serious infection.
More: Pennsylvania Medical Malpractice Law – The Statute of Limitations in Surgical Error Cases
Post Op Infections & Sepsis
When left untreated or if not diagnosed in time, post surgery infections can also lead to sepsis. For example, after an abdominal surgery, the patient develops fever and severe abdominal pain. She returns to the hospital, is given pain medication and released. Two days later, the patient returns to the hospital with worsening symptoms and dies due to sepsis.
Kidney/Urinary Tract Infections & Sepsis
Kidney and urinary tract infections can lead to sepsis and ultimately death, especially for the elderly population and those who have limited sensation below the waist. A urinary tract infection which is misdiagnosed can lead to a kidney infection. This in turn can lead to sepsis.
Medical & Hospital Malpractice Lawyers
Our personal injury lawyers handle medical malpractice cases including infection injuries and deaths due to sepsis. Contact our firm for a free consultation. (866) 641-0806
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