Sepsis is a serious medical condition that can be caused by any type of bacterial, viral, or fungal infection. Sepsis is triggered by the body’s response to an infection. When your body is fighting an infection, it normally releases chemicals into the bloodstream. Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to these chemicals is out of balance, causing changes that can lead to organ damage according to Mayo Clinic. If sepsis progresses to septic shock, this could lead to death.
Who Is at Risk
Sepsis occurs when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. If you have an infection in your skin, lungs, urinary tract, or bloodstream, you are at risk of sepsis.
Anyone can get an infection, and that infection can lead to sepsis. Certain people are more at risk according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Adults 65 and older
- People with weakened immune systems
- People with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, lung, or kidney disease
- Children younger than one year old
Early treatment with antibiotics and intravenous fluids can improve chances for survival. Most people can recover from a mild form of sepsis, but about 40% of people in septic shock die as a result.
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Why Nursing Home Residents Are at a Higher Risk of Sepsis
We know the elderly are at a higher risk of developing this life-threatening condition. In fact, every year 25,000 nursing home residents die after being sent to hospitals for sepsis according to a Chicago Tribune/Kaiser Health News investigation, as reported by the Advisory Board. So why is this happening?
Poor Infection Control
The investigation found that the majority of nursing homes in the United States fail to prevent bedsores and other infections that lead to sepsis. It went on to report that 72% of nursing homes across the country have been cited for not having or not implementing an infection-control program.
A federal report noted sepsis-related care was the most common reason for patient transfers from nursing homes to hospitals. These cases were reported to be more deadly than hospital transfers for other medical reasons.
Signs and Symptoms
If your loved one currently resides in a nursing home, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of sepsis so he or she can get the treatment they need right away. Any delay in treatment could put their health at severe risk. The signs and symptoms may include:
- A high heart rate
- Fever, shivering, or feeling very cold
- Confusion or disorientation
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme pain or discomfort
- Clammy or sweaty skin
If your loved one presents with any of these signs or symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately.
Nursing Home Negligence
When you choose to put your elderly loved one in the care of a nursing home, you expect they will receive the treatment they need and deserve. When the staff fails to provide the appropriate standard of care legally required to patients, this can be considered elderly abuse if the lack of care results in injury.
There are many different types of abuse or neglect a nursing home resident may fall prey to, unfortunately. With medical neglect, the nursing home staff fails to provide the necessary medication, treatment, or prevention for various conditions that affect elderly residents. This includes ensuring patients are able to use a bathroom or are changed regularly or preventing bedsores by moving the patient so they are not on one side for too long.
These examples of medical neglect can lead to urinary tract or blood infections that can lead to another infection which can trigger sepsis.
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Filing a Claim Against a Nursing Home
If you believe your loved one or family member contracted sepsis as a direct result of nursing home negligence, you may be able to file a lawsuit, holding the nursing home and its staff accountable for their actions. The four elements of negligence will need to be proved in court. These elements are:
- The nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care.
- The nursing home breached the duty of care,. i.e. abused or neglected your loved one.
- Your loved one suffered harm as a result of the abuse or neglect.
- Your loved one suffered damages, including financial and non-financial losses.
Connect with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer for Help
Your family member should not have to suffer another day at the hands of a negligent nursing home or staff member. You may be eligible for compensation for your loved one’s damages and losses. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 959-1444 to discuss your unique case with a member of our team today. The initial consultation is free and confidential.