Shockingly, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 25 patients will acquire an infection while in the hospital. These infections can be life-threatening, especially if not identified and treated quickly. The elderly, small children, and immuno-compromised patients are especially vulnerable to infections that can quickly get into the bloodstream and cause fatal sepsis. Untreated infections can lead to miscarriages, loss of limbs, permanent brain damage, and even death.
Dangers of Sepsis – Life Threatening Infection
When a patient develops sepsis, a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection injures its own tissues and organs, s/he can experience blood pressure instability, heart weakening, and reduced blood flow to the vital organs of the body. This can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, brain damage, and even death. Hospital-acquired infections can come on quickly and can be difficult to treat. In the United States alone, more than a million Americans contract severe sepsis annually, and between 28 and 50 percent of those patients will die. To put this figure into perspective, this number is more than the total yearly deaths in the United States from prostate cancer, AIDS, and breast cancer combined.
Prompt diagnosis of sepsis is the key to getting patients the treatment they need to recover. When a patient begins to exhibit signs of sepsis, such as fever, increased respiration, or increased heart rate – appropriate diagnostic testing should be ordered promptly. Blood tests are vital to determining if there are an abnormal number of white blood cells present. Blood cultures may also be performed to determine the correct antibiotic to use to help fight the infection.
Unfortunately, when physicians and nurses are slow to notice the signs of sepsis, or they fail to order the necessary diagnostic tests, sepsis may spread. By the time this infectious process is diagnosed, it may be too late to treat properly and may then be highly resistant to antibiotics.
When Faced with Hospital-Acquired Sepsis, the Delayed Use of Antibiotics Can Be Deadly
Sadly, undiagnosed cases of sepsis that result in death are highly preventable. With vigilant care and treatment by doctors and nurses, the majority of fatal sepsis cases can be avoided. Yet, many doctors are reluctant to order antibiotics due to concerns about infections becoming resistant to the overuse of antibiotics. But when faced with hospital-acquired sepsis, the delayed use of antibiotics can be deadly. Doctors who are too slow to use antibiotics, even when faced with sepsis, can and should be held accountable for their malpractice and for the injuries they have caused.
A Very Treatable Infectious Process
Patients and their families must learn to be proactive about their health. When they know something is wrong, they must demand that their doctors order the necessary tests to diagnose sepsis—or find a new doctor who is a better listener. Patients who have experienced serious harm from what could, and should, have been a very treatable infectious process should talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You may be eligible to file a medical malpractice claim against the careless doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider. If you have lost someone you love due to misdiagnosis of sepsis, or another treatable infection, an experienced Philadelphia or New Jersey medical malpractice attorney can help you and your family during this difficult time.
Contact Our Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured after experiencing substandard medical treatment, the medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., can help. Our team of lawyers consists of some of the best medical malpractice attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and we will fight aggressively for you throughout the legal process.
The medical malpractice attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 75 years of experience representing patients and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties. We are also proud to serve injured patients throughout the State of New Jersey. Contact us today toll-free at 1-855-633-6251, or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.