Did Sepsis Kill Your Loved One In A Hospital? If So, It's Time To Ask Some Hard Questions

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Did Sepsis Kill Your Loved One In A Hospital? If So, It's Time To Ask Some Hard Questions

27 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog

Sepsis is a medical condition that some people refer to as "blood poisoning." It is always triggered by an infection. Once it starts, it can quickly lead to widespread organ failure and death. The worst part, however, is that many cases of sepsis are the result of substandard hygiene practices in healthcare facilities and hospitals, and the symptoms are often ignored until it is too late to reverse the damage that's been done. If someone you loved died from "blood poisoning" (or "septic shock"), this is what you should know.

Hospital-Acquired Infections Are Killing People

Sepsis is an autoimmune response by the body as it tries to fight off any number of infections—which means that any infection could potentially result in this life-threatening illness. All too often, hospital patients become the victims of bacterial infections from improperly cleaned surgical tools, dirty catheters, unclean sheets, or a nurse's unwashed hands.

The early symptoms of sepsis can include things like a slight rash, a low fever, or complaints from the patient that he or she is experiencing hot or cold chills. The symptoms could be mistaken for a medication reaction, some aspect of the underlying condition that put them in the hospital, or just irritability. Even when the sepsis progresses, it often leads to irrational behavior and confusion, because of the effect it can have on a patient's brain. If the patient is elderly, the symptoms may be dismissed as mild dementia brought on by unfamiliar surroundings.

It's estimated that 648,000 people in the U.S. develop infections every year during their hospital stay. Of these, 75,000 will die—which means that more people die of hospital-acquired infections every year than car crashes. That's a staggering amount of deaths.

Families Often Don't Realize The Sepsis Could Have Been Prevented

Hospitals aren't particularly eager to acknowledge that something inside the building or a failure on the part of their medical staff are behind deaths from septic shock. Once the sepsis is finally recognized, the patient is usually put on high-powered antibiotics and steroids to combat both the infection and the autoimmune reaction that's spiraling out of control.

The families of these patients may not be directly lied to, but they may not be expressly told that their loved one picked up the infection that led to the sepsis during his or her hospital stay. Often, family members are left believing that the septic shock that took the life of their loved one was just "one of those things" that sometimes happens after surgery or when someone is seriously ill.

It is true that not every bacterial infection or case of sepsis starts inside the hospital. Some patients come in with an infection that turns septic before it can be stopped. Others are already septic when they come into the hospital. However, if your loved one developed sepsis after a seemingly normal surgery or after an illness that didn't seem related, you should ask questions about how and when the infection that led to the sepsis started. If you determine that it started in the hospital or you aren't getting clear answers, you may want to consult with a wrongful death attorney.

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Important Questions Answered About Hiring Accident Attorneys

Hi, my name is Sarah Reynolds, and if you have questions about hiring an accident and personal injury attorney, you'll find the answers here. A few years ago, my husband was involved in an accident at work, and we decided to hire an attorney. Through this process, I learned so much about the legal system and why it's important to have an attorney on your side. The paperwork is overwhelming in itself, and it was hard for my husband and I to understand all the legal jargon. If you're thinking about hiring an attorney due to an accident or personal injury, you should first read my blog. I wanted others to learn this information beforehand, so they'll know what to expect when hiring an attorney and so they'll know the importance of legal representation.