Sepsis is a potentially deadly disease that stems from infection. In non-fatal cases, it can have long-lasting side effects on those who suffer from it. While sepsis can impact anyone, the elderly population is much more at risk for suffering severe effects from the disease.
Seemingly minor infections develop into sepsis frequently in a nursing home setting. Suppose your loved one suffers sepsis while in the care of a nursing home or negligent medical care allows this condition to worsen unnecessarily. In that case, the facility could face some civil liability.
A Louisville sepsis lawyer can help your family hold a negligent nursing home responsible for their inadequate care. To learn about your legal options, call (800) 842-6336 to schedule a free consultation with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today.
Understanding the Risks of Sepsis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies this disease as “the body’s extreme response to an infection.” For many, sepsis represents a life-threatening medical crisis. Sepsis is not an infection itself. Instead, it is a series of reactions within the body that occur due to a serious infection. If sepsis is not treated in short order, it can cause traumatic damage to the skin and organs.
Any form of infection—fungal, bacterial, or viral—can lead to a case of sepsis. Older adults, including nursing home residents, face an increased risk of sepsis based on their weakened immune system or through conditions like cancer, lung disease, or diabetes. These increased risks make early detection of sepsis within a nursing home imperative.
There are essentially three stages of sepsis. Sepsis itself occurs when the infection results in inflammation throughout the body. The second phase is known as severe sepsis. This is when the condition begins to damage the heart, kidneys, or brain. The final state—septic shock—is the deadliest. Septic shock involves a steep drop in blood pressure that can lead to stroke, organ failure, or even death.
Signs of Sepsis
One of the difficult aspects of sepsis is the limited outward symptoms the disease has. That said, a trained medical care provider should recognize some of the obvious signs that sepsis may be present. According to the Mayo Clinic, these signs include a low systolic blood pressure reading or a respiratory rate higher than 22 breaths per minute.
There are additional signs of septic shock. In addition to the respiratory rate described above, other signs include a steep drop in blood pressure. If medication is required to maintain blood pressure at or above 65 mm Hg, it could be a sign of septic shock.
Finally, high levels of lactic acid in a person’s bloodstream following fluid replacement is another sign. These high levels are a sign that the cells in the body are not using the oxygen available to it.
For a free legal consultation with a Louisville Sepsis Lawyer serving Louisville, call (800) 794-0444
Pursuing Compensation for a Sepsis Claim
Infections can occur in countless ways in a nursing home setting. Some infections are unavoidable. Others occur following an invasive procedure related to a different medical issue. Ultimately, there are two different factors that could result in a negligence claim related to sepsis.
The first involves the initial infection itself. If the nursing home negligently causes an infection to occur or spread, sepsis could be the end result. This could occur due to unclean medical equipment.
The second type of claim involves a nursing home care provider failing to diagnose either sepsis or septic shock. By allowing the disease to spread, the caretaker puts a nursing home resident at risk of severe consequences.
Not all negligent acts are directly attributable to a nursing home. However, in many cases, the acts of staff and caretakers can result in an infection. The failure to reposition a resident to avoid bedsores or clean their wounds in a timely manner is a common cause for infection. Other acts of negligence that could result in sepsis include:
- Failure to treat bedsores
- Improper bandaging or cleaning of wounds
- Linens unwashed for long periods of time
- Failure to bathe or clean residents
- Poor health conditions throughout the nursing home
- Failure by staff to follow up on complaints
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Steps to Take if You Suspect Neglect or Abuse
Given their susceptibility to abuse, it is vital for the family of elderly nursing home residents to remain vigilant. Any potential sign of abuse should be taken seriously and reported right away. By catching abuse or neglect early, it could prevent serious health consequences in the future. The following steps could go a long way in protecting your loved one and holding accountable those who failed to meet their basic needs.
Document the neglect or abuse. There is no such thing as gathering too much evidence in a neglect or abuse case. If you are concerned that your loved one’s sepsis diagnosis was due to negligence, take pictures, interview witnesses, and obtain medical records.
Raise concerns to the administrators. By discussing your concerns right away, you are not only putting the nursing home on notice that there is a problem, but you are potentially saving other families from similar hardships.
Remove your loved one. If you are convinced the nursing home is not taking your situation seriously, removing them from the nursing home might be your best option.
Hire a lawyer. You do not have to take on a negligent nursing home by yourself. Seek the help of a sepsis lawyer from the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to hold them accountable.
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Let a Louisville Sepsis Lawyer Help
It is never easy to learn that your loved one may be the victim of neglect or abuse. In cases that result in sepsis or septic shock, it can be even more difficult. It is vital that you take action to protect the rights of your loved one under these circumstances.
If you are ready to discuss your family’s options with a Louisville sepsis lawyer, then Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to listen. Call (800) 842-6336 to schedule your free consultation immediately.