Taking a loved one into a nursing home is often a difficult decision. When we finally resort to finding help for a loved one in a nursing home, we believe that the home will be the right environment for them and that they will receive the best care possible.
Understandably, if you have a loved one in a nursing home, you expect the nursing home to provide the appropriate level of care, treatment, hygiene, support, and other forms of assistance they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life. However, too many nursing homes fail in this regard. Unfortunately, residents may develop life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis, under the supervision of nursing staff as a result of negligent care or medical malpractice.
If your loved one has suffered sepsis while in a nursing home, you can get the right compensation for pain, suffering, or loss of life as a result of neglect. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we understand that sepsis is a sign of nursing home negligence, and for that reason, we are dedicated to protecting the elderly from abuse.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to see how a Kansas City sepsis lawyer may be able to help you. We will evaluate your case to determine whether your loved one has been subjected to elder abuse and pursue your case.
How to Identify Sepsis
Sepsis is a dangerous condition that occurs as a result of the body’s life-threatening response to a fungal or bacterial infection. The body response to infection may cause inflammation and injury to tissues and organs, impairing blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney. Resultantly, the condition may lead to organ failure or death.
Bacterial infection resulting in sepsis may originate from:
- Bedsores and skin infections
- Respiratory tract infections
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Wounds from falls
- Infections from breathing tube injuries
According to the Mayo Clinic, sepsis involves three stages:
First Stage Sepsis
This stage may include symptoms such as:
- High fever above 101.30 Fahrenheit or low temperatures below 950 Fahrenheit
- High heart rate exceeding 90 beats per minute
- High respiration rate greater than 20 breaths per minute
Second Stage Sepsis
This stage may also be referred to as severe sepsis and may include symptoms such as:
- Strained or labored breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal heart rates
- Rapid mental instability
- Low urine output
Third Stage Sepsis
This is the most severe stage and is also referred to as sepsis shock. At this stage, the immune system releases chemicals into the bloodstream, causing an inflammatory response that may lead to multiple organ failure and death. The stage may exhibit symptoms such as:
- All or some of the symptoms in the previous stages
- Very low blood pressure
Why Nursing Home Residents Are Susceptible to Sepsis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to sepsis because:
- They are elderly adults who are 65 years or older
- Most have weakened immune systems
- Some have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 842-6336
Negligent Care Is the Main Cause of Sepsis
Nursing homes have an obligation to take reasonable measures to protect the residents from infections that could lead to sepsis. When staff fails in the obligation, this can be considered elder abuse, and the nursing home may be held responsible for the development of sepsis. For instance, if a nursing home does not give extra attention to bed-ridden residents, they may develop sores, which can lead to infections. Similarly, if nursing homes fail to maintain proper hygiene, residents may develop urinary tract infections.
Negligent care could also be established in a situation where a nursing home fails to take extra caution towards patients who have compromised immune systems. For example, patients with chronic health conditions may have a weakened immune system, thus susceptible to infections. It is a staff’s responsibility to closely monitor such patients and to identify signs of infections early enough before they develop sepsis.
If a nursing home fails to train staff members on the signs of sepsis and infection, they may fail to provide the right amount of care to vulnerable residents. Nursing homes should train the staff on policies and procedures to take if they notice signs of infection or sepsis on the nursing home residents.
As with other types of negligent actions, to prevail in a negligence lawsuit, you have the burden of proving your claims. This means that you must show that the nursing home and/or the medical personnel had a duty of care to your loved one. You will also need to prove that the at-fault party breached the duty of care they owed your loved one and that you and your loved one suffered losses as a result.
Expert Testimony May Help in a Nursing Home Negligence Case
In a case like this, expert testimony is extremely important. It will be instrumental in proving the damages that the defendant owes you and your loved one, establish the reasonable care applicable in a similar situation, and how the defendant breached the standard. A Kansas City sepsis lawyer can work with an expert witness to review your loved one’s medical record, establish the type of infection that caused sepsis, and take note of any action taken or should have been taken by the nursing home staff in response to the situation.
We Can Help You Seek Damages
Our legal team may help you investigate your claims and seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses both for ongoing treatment and future treatment related to sepsis
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
If your loved one passed away due to the defendant’s negligence and you qualify to be a personal representative of your loved one’s estate, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. Through the claim, you may seek compensation for funeral expenses and other damages related to the death of your loved one.
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Speak to Us to Get Help
If your loved one suffered sepsis while a resident of a nursing home, we may be able to help you. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 for a free case evaluation. If we accept your case, you will not pay us until we make a recovery for you.