Sepsis is a severe, life-threatening illness caused by an infection in the body. The infection itself can start out minor, such as a urinary tract infection, and turn into septicemia – a blood infection. If timely measures are not taken to prevent sepsis or its related infection, bacteremia, a patient’s life is ultimately at risk.
How Common is Sepsis?
Sepsis – and septic shock syndrome, which sepsis often leads to – has been on the rise. Septic shock is a common cause of death in intensive care units, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 28 to 50 percent of individuals who develop sepsis eventually die. The CDC contributes the national rise of sepsis cases to the widespread and increased use of antibiotics in the country, which encourages antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
How Sepsis Occurs
A patient can contract an infection after a surgery, putting them at high risk for developing sepsis. Sepsis is caused when the infection enters one part of the body and then spreads to another. If not treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, a patient can suffer from septic shock, which is a catastrophic failure of the body’s organs.
Is Sepsis Malpractice?
Not in all cases. Developing sepsis does not automatically mean that a physician or healthcare provider acted negligently, but there are instances where sepsis can be considered malpractice. When a healthcare provider fails to prevent or treat the underlying cause of an infection, then they may be liable for the patient’s injuries or death.
Infections can arise in many contexts, but some examples where a physician or healthcare provider may be liable for sepsis include:
- The improper use of a catheter, which leads to a preventable infection that develops into sepsis.
- A patient develops an avoidable bedsore, which becomes infected and puts the patient at risk for sepsis.
- Once an infection has developed, A physician fails to treat the infection or recognize the symptoms of that infection.
- Improper sanitization during a medical procedure or surgery that leads to an infection and later causes sepsis.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney to Assess Your Case
Determining liability for a sepsis infection is much more complex than most malpractice cases, so hiring a lawyer is an important step for anyone dealing with this type of case. A medical malpractice attorney can review the facts of your case and determine if the physician or facility treating you is liable for your sepsis infection. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.