As a condition that can develop rapidly and move quickly, sepsis is a leading cause of death for hospital patients. It can be difficult to distinguish sepsis symptoms from those of other diseases. Estimates suggest it may account for one-third to one-half of all hospital deaths. So, if a patient gets sepsis while hospitalized, can you sue a hospital for sepsis death? Sometimes, these instances lead to sepsis malpractice settlements.
An outdated term for sepsis is “blood poisoning.” In the past, people believed bacteria or other germs in the blood caused it. However, now it is known that infection and too powerful response by the body cause it. A battle between the illness and the body’s immune response to it results.
Before modern medicine and knowledge, sepsis almost always led to death. Today, it remains a serious condition as it claims approximately one in every five afflicted patients.
Often those who experience sepsis contract it during a hospital stay or procedure. While the illness may occur naturally due to a pre-existing infection, sepsis may also occur because of medical negligence by your healthcare providers. If this is the case, you may need a hospital injury lawyer on your side.
If you believe medical malpractice caused your sepsis, Lipton Law is here to help you. You deserve fair compensation for enduring this often deadly affliction. Our skillful Michigan sepsis lawsuit lawyers are familiar with medical malpractice and the factors necessary for a successful case. Please establish your attorney-client relationship with our super lawyers by contacting our law firm today about your sepsis malpractice lawsuit. Call 248-557-1688 to schedule your free initial consultation with us.
What Is Sepsis?
Sometimes an infection starts a chain reaction in the body that causes it to damage itself. This reaction is known as sepsis or septicemia. Bacterial infections most often cause it.
These infections typically start in the bladder, kidneys, lungs, or stomach. Sepsis can also begin with something as simple as a small cut that becomes infected or in people unaware of an existing infection.
When the body’s infection-fighting mechanism goes into overdrive and turns on itself, organs may function improperly or even shut down.
Severe sepsis may even progress into septic shock. This is marked by a steep drop in blood pressure that may progress to severely damaged organs or death.
A patient with sepsis or septic shock needs immediate treatment. Medical providers must quickly identify symptoms and warning signs of the conditions. Failure to diagnose and begin treatment may be the difference between life and wrongful death.
Adverse Health Outcomes Caused by Sepsis
Examples of the negative effects sepsis may have on the human body include:
- Failure of organs
- Damaged tissues
- Amputation or loss of limb
- Heart failure
- Respiratory failure
Legal action may be an option if your physician or other healthcare professionals failed to meet the treatment standards for sepsis or septic shock and caused you preventable harm.
The legal team at Lipton Law works tirelessly to demonstrate that proper care would have prevented the injury, the provider did not meet their duty of care to their patient, and this breach of duty caused the damage.
What Causes Sepsis?
Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections may all lead to sepsis. However, the most common causes of the ailment include these types of conditions:
- Blood or bacteremia
- Burns, cuts, skin infection, or wounds
- Catheter insertion sites
- Digestive tract
- Urinary tract (bladder, kidneys, etc.)
Sepsis can start in different locations throughout the body. As a result, it has various symptoms. Confusion and rapid breathing are typically among the first signs of the condition. Additional common symptoms of sepsis include:
- Chills and fever
- Clammy skin or sweating
- Discolored or blotchy skin
- Extreme pain
- Low body temperature
- Quick heartbeat
- Reduced urination
- Weakness or fatigue
- Vomiting and nausea
The following signs plus a likely or confirmed infection are necessary for a sepsis diagnosis:
- High respiratory rate (22+ breaths per minute)
- Lowered systolic blood pressure reading (equal to or less than 100 millimeters of mercury/mm Hg)
- Mental status change
Symptoms of Septic Shock
Septic shock occurs with a dangerous drop in blood pressure that causes cells to function and produce energy abnormally. Bodily tissues suffer a lack of oxygen-rich blood when blood pressure falls. It can result in organ failure and eventually death.
The risk of death increases when sepsis progresses into septic shock. Signs of this progression include:
- Blood contains high levels of lactic acid/ serum lactate, which causes the cells to use oxygen inefficiently
- Medication is needed to keep systolic blood pressure at or above 65 mm Hg
Risk Factors for Sepsis
While having an infection makes anyone vulnerable to sepsis, some people have a higher risk:
- Adults aged 65-years or older
- Children younger than one year
- Expectant mothers
- Invasive medical devices like breathing tubes or catheters
- Long hospital stays or time spent in intensive care
- Patients with chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, or lung disease
- Prior corticosteroid or antibiotic use
- Those with a weakened immune system
How Is Sepsis Contracted In The Hospital?
Some patients experience sepsis after developing a hospital-acquired infection (HAI). Several factors increase the risk of developing sepsis during a hospital stay. This is due to the various germs and diseases in the hospital environment. Many patients also have reduced immune function because of their ailment, making it harder for their bodies to resist germs.
When a patient requires an invasive procedure during their treatment, such as an IV, catheter, ventilator, or others, harmful bacteria and germs may enter the body and cause infections.
Hospital staff work diligently to reduce the risk of infections; however, mistakes do happen that result in an HAI. And sepsis may develop from there. Some common medical errors that occur are:
- Inadequate or improper handwashing
- Inserting IVs or other invasive equipment improperly
- Medical equipment not sanitized properly
- Post-operative care is lacking
Providing the best care to patients is the medical facility’s responsibility. This includes preventing the possibility of HAIs and the development of sepsis. A patient may hold the hospital legally liable when this standard of care is not met, and the patient gets hurt.
What Are the Treatments for Sepsis?
Treating sepsis requires immediate and proactive medical intervention to prevent it from progressing to severe sepsis or sepsis septic shock. Intensive care may be needed at the medical facility. IV fluids, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and extra oxygen may help stop the infection, normalize your blood pressure, and assist organ function.
Medication that treats the specific infection-causing agent is administered once your doctor knows what caused the sepsis. Your medical provider may also prescribe vasopressors to make your blood vessels contract to improve blood pressure. Corticosteroids for inflammation or insulin for controlling blood sugar may also be prescribed.
In cases of severe sepsis, additional treatments such as kidney dialysis or a breathing machine may be necessary. Surgery is also a possibility for draining or cleaning out an infection.
Sepsis causes a domino effect of negative effects within the body as the condition worsens, including:
- Damage to brain, heart, or lungs
- Gangrene/dead tissue and amputation of toes and fingers
- Increased risk of future infections
- Kidney failure
Between 25 and 40% of sepsis cases end in death.
Can You Sue a Hospital for Sepsis Death?
Sepsis is a serious blood infection that requires swift diagnosis and medical intervention. Any delay in diagnosis or treatment may be deadly.
If the medical professionals providing your treatment didn’t provide a diagnosis for you or your loved one promptly, it wasn’t possible to provide proper treatment. Late treatment often makes no difference with sepsis because a few hours’ delays in treatment may lead to death. This opens the door to a sepsis-related claim for medical malpractice.
Whether the treating facility is a nursing home, hospital, urgent care clinic, emergency room, or you were in a doctor’s private care, misdiagnosing sepsis is negligence. The law gives you the right to sue for damages if you endured sepsis-related injuries and losses. An experienced Michigan medical malpractice attorney helps you recover compensation for your financial recovery. Keep in mind that you must follow your lawsuit within the Michigan statute of limitations personal injury to receive compensation.
How Do You Know If You Have A Valid Legal Claim Of Negligence?
Medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove. That’s because a successful lawsuit requires the establishment of the following four elements:
- The medical provider or responsible party owed a duty of care to you or your loved one.
- The standard of care was violated by a medical professional. You’ll have to prove that a diagnosis was made slower than what was reasonable or that you or your loved one were released from care too soon.
- You or your loved one suffered harm or injuries as a result.
- The injuries or harm were caused by the medical provider’s mistake.
Establishing that a standard of care has been violated is difficult. Representation by a knowledgeable Michigan sepsis lawsuits attorney is critical. They’ll examine your medical records and the steps taken by your doctor and determine whether they made avoidable mistakes.
Compensation for Sepsis in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
When you’re the victim of medical negligence that causes injuries, you’re entitled to compensation for your harm, losses, or the wrongful death of a loved one. You may recover damages for:
- Medical costs – past and future
- Lost wages – past and future
- Physical suffering and pain
- Emotional suffering
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of emotional and financial support
- Therapy, rehabilitation, medical devices, and medication expenses
- Expenses for a funeral/burial
Hire a Trusted Sepsis Malpractice Lawsuit Attorney
In Michigan, medical malpractice claims are some of the most complicated types of personal injury lawsuits. They require a review of medical records and often expert testimony. A healthcare provider’s failure to meet the expected standard of care and that a patient suffered injuries as a result, must be established.
It is vital that you retain a Michigan attorney experienced in sepsis malpractice settlements for a successful outcome for your case. You’ll need to begin your case as soon as possible because there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims.
If you or someone you love contracted sepsis due to a medical provider’s substandard medical care, you need the legal guidance of the Michigan medical malpractice lawyers of Lipton Law. Get a free consultation by calling 248-557-1688 today.