Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition caused by the body’s extreme response to an infection. Normally, our bodies release chemicals into the blood to fight infections, but when the response to those chemicals is out of balance, it can trigger a reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sepsis can develop into septic shock, a condition that causes a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure.
Adults aged 65 and older are five times more likely to have sepsis than younger adults, and nursing home residents are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with severe sepsis than non residents.
If your parent, spouse, or other loved one lives in a nursing home and suffered or passed away from sepsis, it could be because of negligent care. A Newark sepsis lawyer may be able to help you fight for awards. For more information, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 to discuss your case.
Sepsis and Nursing Home Residents
Many of the risk factors for sepsis are conditions already affecting nursing home residents. In addition to age, sepsis and septic shock are more common in people who:
- Have a compromised immune system
- Already are sick, often in an intensive care unit (ICU)
- Have an underlying health condition, like diabetes, liver disease, cancer, or lung disease
- Have previously received antibiotics or corticosteroids
- Have invasive devices, such as a catheter or feeding tube
The prognosis for nursing home residents who are admitted to emergency departments with severe sepsis is not favorable. A study by the Journal of Critical Care found that 48 percent died while in the hospital.
The Causes of Sepsis
Bacterial infection is the most common cause of sepsis, though fungal, parasitic, and viral infections also can be to blame. Sepsis can begin anywhere in the body, but there are some sources of infection that are more common.
Infections beginning in the abdomen include appendicitis, bowel problems, peritonitis (infection of the abdominal cavity), and gallbladder or liver infections. Sepsis can begin because of infections in the central nervous system, as well as the lungs, with pneumonia being a common cause of sepsis in the elderly.
Bacteria can enter the body through skin wounds or inflammation, as well as through openings for medical devices, like intravenous (IV) catheters. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) also are a common source of sepsis, especially in patients who require a catheter to drain urine.
Nursing home staff should take precautions to prevent infections and the development of sepsis. This includes practicing good hygiene for both residents and staff, performing proper wound care, managing chronic conditions, preventing injuries such as bedsores and pressure wounds, and monitoring at-risk patients closely for signs of sepsis.
Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment
According to the Cleveland Clinic, sepsis symptoms can vary depending on the site of infection, but the most prominent signs include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Fever or hypothermia (extremely low body temperature)
- Warm or clammy and/or sweaty skin
- Shaking or chills
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
Lab tests can be performed to diagnose sepsis and check for organ failure. Sepsis should be treated as soon as possible using antibiotics. Many patients also will be given oxygen and IV fluids to protect their organs from damage. In severe cases, kidney dialysis, assisted breathing via a machine, and surgery to remove damaged tissues may be needed.
For a free legal consultation with a Sepsis Lawyer serving Newark, call (800) 794-0444
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If your loved one developed sepsis while the care of their nursing home, it could be because of staff negligence or wrongdoing. Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect may be more common than you think. One study found 44 percent of nursing home residents reporting being abused, while 95 percent reported being neglected or witnessing neglect.
Many of the warning signs of abuse and neglect are also issues that could lead to infections and developing sepsis. They include:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, scars, or other injuries
- Lack of assistance with mobility
- Excessive falls and accidents
- Malnourishment and/or dehydration
- Poor hygiene, like lack of bathing and dental care, or dirty hair and clothing
- Weight loss
- Lack of assistance with toileting, or failure to change soiled diapers
Sometimes, nursing homes are understaffed or staff is poorly trained. Staff may not be able to properly meet the needs of all residents, maintain a clean facility, or adequately perform medical duties, such as placing IVs or catheters safely. Staff may also fail to note the signs of sepsis, resulting in a delay in treatment.
Newark Sepsis Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
A Newark Sepsis Lawyer Can Protect Your Loved One’s Rights
A Newark sepsis lawyer can help you determine the cause of your loved one’s infection, what led to developing sepsis, and who or what is responsible for their illness, injury, or death. For more information about how an attorney can help with your case, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free case assessment.
If you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect, you should file a report with the nursing home administration. You may also wish to make a complaint with local law enforcement or another agency that advocates for the elderly.
In New Jersey, nursing homes are regulated by the Department of Health. You can report abuse to the department online, or call the 24-7 hotline at (800) 201-3999. If you witness abuse as it is happening, call 911.
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Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today for Legal Assistance
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm works to achieve justice, compensation, and peace of mind. We help clients fight back against abuse and neglect.
It is legally and morally wrong to harm the most vulnerable members of our society. We want to help you hold those responsible for harming your loved one accountable. Our primary goal is to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
To learn more about how a Newark sepsis lawyer may be able to help you seek awards for your loved one’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and more, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 for a free consultation.