Tragically, many hospital and nursing home patients die from sepsis infections. Further, this occurs when they otherwise would recover from an underlying medical condition if they are given proper care and a sterile environment.
Sepsis is most commonly known to most people as “blood poisoning”. It happens when a hospital or nursing home patient is overwhelmed by bacteria as the result of an infection. Read on to learn more about sepsis dangers from our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys.
Here are answers to several common questions regarding sepsis:
How is Sepsis Diagnosed?
Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition that requires immediate and aggressive treatment. Typically someone with this condition should be in a hospital intensive care unit using intravenous antibiotics. If you or a family member are a victim of nursing home neglect, you may need legal help from an experienced sepsis attorney in Chicago.
Diagnosing Sepsis in a Nursing Home Patient could entail:
If a nursing home resident may have sepsis, they will likely need a blood sample taken to be tested for:
- Presence of infection
- Blood clots or issues clotting
- Liver or kidney malfunction
- Lack of oxygen in blood
- Lack of electrolytes
Additional Sepsis Testing
- Additional lab testing
- A urine test for signs of bacteria
- A sample test of the wound’s secretions
- Imaging tests, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT scan), an ultrasound, or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
The Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. are ready to assist clients dealing with the serious injury or wrongful death of a family member as a result of sepsis. Bedsores, untreated infections, and failure to maintain a sterile medical environment, are all common causes of sepsis. In hospital or nursing home environments, the infection sometimes begins at the site of intravenous lines or surgical wounds.
What Are the Symptoms of Sepsis?
- Warm Skin
- Dehydration/decrease in urine
- Rapid Heartbeat
A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that patients who develop sepsis spend on average 11 extra days in the hospital at a cost of $32,900. Further, one in five sepsis patients die as a result of the infection.
Is Sepsis a Major Concern Nationwide?
While most people are not familiar with sepsis, here are some recent statistics:
- In one recent year, over 800,000 people were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of sepsis
- Sepsis causes over 250,000 deaths per year
- The sepsis mortality rates in hospitals is around 15 percent
- Hospitals in the United States have seen over a 40 percent increase in sepsis cases during the last 7 years
- In 2018 alone, Medicare paid over $40 billion for sepsis treatment
Who Has a Higher Risk of Getting Sepsis?
While anyone can contract sepsis from an infection, some are more likely to get it than others, such as:
- Adults over the age of 65
- Those that have a weakened immune system
- Children in their first year of life
- People with certain ongoing medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes
How Can I Defend Myself From Sepsis?
The CDC recommends the following:
- Make sure you actively treat any chronic medical conditions
- Stay up to date on your vaccinations
- Keep any cuts and lacerations clean throughout the healing process
- Be aware of the above listed symptoms
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of sepsis, or you suffer from an infection that is not clearing up or is worsening
How is Sepsis Treated?
Medical providers typically treat sepsis using a “broad spectrum” antibiotic with the ability to destroy a wide-range of bacteria. Once blood tests determine the nature of the infection, specific antibiotics can then be used to treat the sepsis-causing infection. This process of identifying and targeting the bacteria often requires extensive testing and the removal of infected intravenous lines, surgical drains and other contaminated medical equipment. Additionally, identifying sepsis at its earliest stages can be vital to providing a patient with the best chance of recovery. Medical providers will try to treat the condition as soon as possible and will also make sure to keep blood flowing to the organs during this process. Finally, surgery could be necessary in some circumstances to remove damaged tissue.
What Can I Expect as I Recover From Sepsis?
Once a medical team contains sepsis, you would typically begin rehabbing immediately. You will most likely be very weak at first and could need help with routine tasks such as bathing, using the bathroom, walking, and putting on clothes. After a serious infection, you may need a significant amount of time to recover. Further, during the recovery process, you may experience aches and pains, fatigue, shortness of breath, mobility and sleep issues, loss of appetite and weight, dry and itchy skin, and hair loss. You could also experience depression, anxiety, confusion and have a lack of focus. Some of the above issues could be long-term.
Contact a Chicago Sepsis Lawyer
If you or a loved one has developed sepsis in a Chicago nursing home or hospital environment, contact the Chicago injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. to discuss your rights. For your convenience, we offer free consultations 24/7 and there is no fee unless you win your case.
If you believe your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect while in a nursing home in the Chicago, IL area, Contact us for a Free Case Consultation or Call (855) LAW-CHICAGO to speak with a sepsis attorney in Chicago.