Sepsis is a life-threatening condition resulting from infection. Almost any infection can lead to sepsis, including those located in the lungs, urinary tract, skin, and the small or large intestines.
Sepsis affects 1.5 million Americans each year. Among the most vulnerable are nursing home residents.
It may be difficult for residents to identify a worsening infection, especially if they suffer from dementia. Through the negligence of nursing home staff, these infections could turn into sepsis.
Below, our nursing home negligence lawyers outline some early signs of sepsis.
Recognize these signs before they turn into a medical emergency:
- Extreme pain and discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
- Difficulty breathing
- High heart rate
If left untreated, the symptoms mentioned above could lead to septic shock, organ failure, and even death.
A New England Journal of Medicine study suggests that having sepsis guidelines could save lives.
The study observes how quickly patients are treated after arriving at the emergency room. The luckiest patients get an anti-sepsis procedure done within six hours of arrival.
The protocol – called a “three-hour bundle” is most effective if completed in less than three hours. The three-hour bundl includes:
- Measuring a patient’s lactate level
- Taking a blood culture, and
- Giving the patient antibiotics
Failure to perform the protocol at all increases elderly patients’ risk of death up to 38%.
The study concludes that sepsis patients most likely to survive receive care within the first six hours of being admitted to the ER. For every hour that doctors put off the protocol, the chance of death jumps up 3 – 4%.
Not All Doctors Want to Adopt These Guidelines
Skeptical doctors argue that the study lacks enough scientific evidence to support the claim.
Granted, doctors who performed the three-hour bundle within the specified time limit only saw a 1% difference in death rate from those who didn’t get the treatment completed fast enough. Still, a 1% improvement means that millions of lives are being saved by these guidelines.
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If you or a loved one developed sepsis while in a nursing home or hospital, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Our nursing home lawyers provide free case consultations nationwide. Contact us today.