Any person can develop an infection; however, quick action can ensure that the infection does not turn into sepsis. According to the Mayo Clinic, sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a body fights an infection and goes into overdrive. Sepsis can result in a complete shutdown of organs and an overall failure of bodily functions. If sepsis develops into septic shock, it may lead to death.
Elderly residents of nursing homes already have frail systems, and in many cases, serious medical conditions. As a result, their families make the difficult decision to place them in a nursing home to ensure that they receive the care and attention they need to remain safe and healthy. If your loved one developed an infection that resulted in sepsis, you may have the legal right to compensation. Talk with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to learn how a San Antonio sepsis lawyer can help you with your case against a nursing home.
How Sepsis Develops
Sepsis is a medical condition that occurs because of an untreated infection. Essentially, it is the body overreacting to a severe infection with an inflammatory response that spirals out of control. Chemicals in the body begin attacking the infection, as well as other parts of the body in response to the infection. As a result, the chemicals begin shutting the entire body down, causing additional damage or even death. Some of the types of infections that cause sepsis include staph infection, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, and even COVID-19.
Stages of Sepsis
It is important to understand that there are several stages of sepsis. This means that at any point in time, a nursing home employee should recognize and immediately address any symptoms of sepsis in a nursing home facility. The stages of sepsis include the following:
First Stage of Sepsis
This stage includes just one area of the body where the infection remains localized until it begins to spread throughout the body in the bloodstream. This spread of the infection (sepsis) causes inflammation throughout the body. In the past, this condition was known as “blood poisoning.” This first stage of sepsis remains an important one. When staff recognize the symptoms of sepsis, nursing homes should immediately notify a medical provider, the family, and ensure that they receive either antibiotics or any other necessary medications or treatments.
Second Stage of Sepsis – Severe Sepsis
This stage of sepsis affects all the critical and vital organs. At this stage, an elderly person will exhibit symptoms of respiratory distress, abdominal pain, heart issues, impaired cognitive thinking, and decreased urine. At this stage, the chances of serious medical conditions and the risk of death increases, especially for older residents of a nursing home.
Last Stage of Sepsis – Septic Shock
This last stage of sepsis includes a severe drop in blood pressure. At this last stage, many elderly residents of nursing homes will simply not have the strength to survive.
For a free legal consultation with a Sepsis Lawyer serving San Antonio, call (800) 794-0444
Sepsis and Nursing Homes
As previously mentioned, nursing homes are a perfect location for the development of infections. However, immediate identification of infection reduces the opportunity for sepsis to develop. The staff should receive proper training to quickly identify signs of sepsis, which include fever, pain, clammy skin, chills, shortness of breath, or cognitive difficulties. For any wound or infection on the skin that is not slowly getting better, medical treatment should occur.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated that in 2013, sepsis was the number one reason that nursing home residents needed to receive hospitalization. Unfortunately, in some cases, sepsis simply occurs even with immediate attention and treatment. However, if a nursing home fails to have due diligence with respect to their duties and obligations to monitor patients, they remain legally responsible for any injuries or losses suffered by an elderly resident as a result of sepsis. If your family member developed sepsis in a nursing home, learn how a San Antonio sepsis lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can help you better understand all of your legal options.
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Elder Neglect and Nursing Homes
There is a connection between elder neglect and the development of sepsis in nursing homes. When the staff of a nursing home fails to identify that an elderly resident has any kind of infection, they have failed one of their most critical responsibilities as caretakers of their residents. Determining negligence can prove challenging and legally complicated, as a victim must prove that the lack of identification or medical assistance caused the infection to develop into sepsis. There are several ways that a resident of a nursing home can prove negligence with respect to the development of sepsis, including the following:
- Interviewing witnesses in the nursing home who may testify to the fact that the nursing home failed to monitor or inspect residents for the presence of infections
- Interviewing the nursing home staff employees regarding their training to identify sepsis and infections
- Interviewing the management of the nursing home to determine how many residents suffer from sepsis every year, and what its current policy and procedure is when a resident develops an infection
- Determining if the nursing home has any other formal complaints issued against them with respect to elder neglect or sepsis infections
- Collecting all the medical notes, doctor evaluations, and medical information to present a case that would conclude that the development of sepsis was a preventable occurrence if caught and treated immediately
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If your loved one developed sepsis, severe sepsis, or septic shock as a resident of a nursing home, they may have the legal right to pursue justice. Additionally, pursuing a claim of elder abuse against a nursing home can ensure that other elderly residents do not suffer the same type of neglect. Speak with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to learn how a San Antonio sepsis lawyer can help you better understand all of your legal rights.