Sepsis, sometimes referred to as “blood poisoning,” may occur as a result of a serious infection, and can lead to death if not treated appropriately or diagnosed in time, both of which may justify a medical malpractice claim. Severe sepsis may also lead to organ dysfunction and even septic shock, which happens when blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level. According to the CDC, in the U.S. alone, sepsis accounts for more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Anyone can get sepsis as a result of an infection, but there are some individuals who are at higher risk, particularly those with a compromised immune system, including cancer patients, individuals over the age of 65, infants, and those suffering from kidney or liver disease. Symptoms of sepsis are often subtle and sometimes attributed to other disorders. Someone suffering from sepsis may have a fever, chills, or an elevated heart rate. Therefore, vigilance from health care providers is imperative. Medical professionals should include sepsis on their differential diagnosis to either quickly identify it or rule it out.

While patients’ health may put them at risk for sepsis, a hospital’s treatment setting may also put patients at risk. The concentration of patient beds, cleanliness of water systems, sterility of medical devices, and the filtration of the HVAC system are some factors which may lead to risk of sepsis in a patient. Additionally, doctors and other hospital staff must carefully perform invasive procedures such as intubation or intravenous administration of medication. All of these variables may either increase the chances of a patient getting sepsis or decrease chances if a hospital is operating responsibly.

Expert attorneys at Fieger Law have over 70 years of experience in medical malpractice cases, fighting for the rights of those who have suffered as a result of a medical mistake or a hospital infection.