Nursing homes are supposed to care for your loved one and give them the personalized attention they need on a daily, or even hourly, basis. While infections may occur in the elderly due to weakened immune systems and medical conditions, no elderly resident of a nursing home should ever develop sepsis following an infection.
If your elderly loved one suffered injuries or death due to sepsis in a nursing home, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team about how a Forest Park sepsis lawyer can help.
Sepsis is a reaction someone’s body may have to an already existing infection, according to Mayo Clinic. When infection occurs in the body, chemicals are released into a person’s bloodstream to attack that infection. Sepsis happens when those chemicals create an impaired blood flow due to inflammation of the blood vessels. The body will begin to shut down completely as the organs and internal systems become damaged.
Sepsis in Elderly Persons
Many elderly people have weakened immune systems, which may lead to infections such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Immobile residents of nursing homes that are unable to move or reposition themselves might develop bedsores. When left untreated, bedsores may turn into serious infections.
Additionally, some elderly persons need catheters, IVs, and other medical instruments. When incorrectly inserted or left too long, infections may result. Gastrointestinal infections are also common among elderly residents of nursing homes. All of these types of infections may ultimately result in sepsis if left untreated.
If your elderly loved one suffered from sepsis in a nursing home, you might be able to recover compensation for medical bills through a personal injury lawsuit. Every case is different, so you might benefit from hiring a lawyer to go over the specifics. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a Sepsis Lawyer serving Forest Park, call (800) 794-0444
Four Stages of Sepsis
Four main stages of sepsis can occur, according to Mayo Clinic.
Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS)
This initial stage of sepsis is when the body begins its inflammatory response to an infection. A person’s heart rate will be above 90 beats per minute, and they will have very rapid respiration of over 30 breaths per minute. This stage will typically have a fever over 100.4°Fahrenheit, or a low temperature below 96.8° Fahrenheit.
This is when the body has SIRS symptoms, and a confirmed infection that has turned septic.
If left untreated, sepsis may turn more serious and lead to organ failures and system dysfunctions. Along with the symptoms mentioned above, a person will have severe difficulty breathing, pain in the abdomen and stomach area, changes and abnormal heart rate, changes in emotional and cognitive state, and a decrease in urine.
This final stage of sepsis leads to complete internal system failures and leads to death in approximately half of all cases, according to a University of Ulm study. This stage results in a severe drop in blood pressure. In many cases, elderly people are weak, and medical caregivers are unable to restore the blood pressure to normal levels, and the resident dies.
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Sepsis and Nursing Homes
The elderly are more susceptible to infections and medical conditions due to weakened immune systems and other medical conditions that may compromise their health and strength. Further, nursing home residents are seven times more likely to have severe sepsis than those not in a long-term care facility, according to a University of Colorado study. Those residents admitted to the intensive care unit in hospitals had a mortality rate of 37%, versus 15% for non-nursing home residents.
Lack of Mobility
Additionally, many seniors that reside in nursing home facilities are bedridden, in wheelchairs, or are too weak to reposition themselves. In these cases, the nursing home staff members have to ensure that these elderly residents do not suffer from bedsores, or receive immediate treatment and repositioning to ensure that the bedsores do not become infected. If a bedsore becomes infected, and sepsis results, it is due to the nursing home staff’s negligence, as these medical conditions are preventable.
Lack of Cleanliness
In many cases, a nursing home resident will need to have an IV, catheter, or other medical device inserted. If a nursing home staff member fails to wash their hands, fails to utilize sterile gloves, masks, or clothing, an infection may occur. If any of these medical devices remain in an elderly patient too long, infections may also occur. If an infection occurs and remains untreated, it could result in sepsis due to the negligence of the nursing home staff.
Lack of Education and Training
In many cases, nursing home facilities remain understaffed with employees that have not received the proper training to care for the elderly residents.
In these cases, the nursing home staff members may not understand that they need to carefully watch those residents with bacterial infections or pneumonia, ensure that bedridden residents receive repositioning often, or ensure that they insert medical devices properly.
Without proper medical training and education, nursing home staff may not notice the early signs of sepsis in residents, which may lead to severe medical complications or even death.
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Prognosis of Residents with Sepsis
If an elderly resident develops sepsis due to the negligent care of a nursing home facility, they may face additional medical complications, or even death. According to research from Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, 250,000 people die every year due to sepsis. For those who do not die, many develop post-sepsis syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which is a condition resulting in severe physical and psychological effects, including:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Decreased cognitive function
- Depression and anxiety
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Contact a Forest Park Sepsis Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered serious injuries from sepsis or died, you might benefit from consulting a Forest Park sepsis lawyer. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to help you determine how to ensure your elderly loved one’s legal rights are protected.