According to MedlinePlus, septic shock results when an infection that has spread through the whole body lowers your blood pressure to a dangerous level.
Sepsis and septic shock are both largely preventable illnesses. If your loved one suffered from septic shock in a nursing home, it might be because of neglect or abuse from nursing home staff. If this was the case, you might be able to recover compensation for your loved one’s suffering.
Causes of Septic Shock
Seniors’ immune system naturally weakens with age, which means their ability to fight off bacteria is significantly lower than that of a younger, healthier person. When bacteria cause an infection in the body, septic shock can result.
Many nursing home residents use indwelling catheters, which, according to MedlinePlus, is one of the main risk factors for sepsis and septic shock. Catheters require frequent maintenance and care, or else they will become dirty and can increase a resident’s risk of infection.
According to the Mayo Clinic, another cause of sepsis, which leads to septic shock, is pneumonia. A study in Aging Health reports that nursing home residents account for 10% to 18% of hospitalizations for pneumonia. If pneumonia goes untreated in the nursing home, that can lead to sepsis, which can cause organ failure, blood clots, and tissue death, among other complications.
Some nursing home residents also require staying in a wheelchair or in bed for most of the day, if not all the time. When a resident cannot move, and no one helps them move for an extended time, they can develop pressure ulcers or bedsores. If the bedsores are left untreated, this can also result in sepsis, and if it is not addressed promptly, it can lead to septic shock.
Mayo Clinic says most people recover from sepsis, but once the infection escalates to septic shock, about 40% of patients pass away. If your loved one died from septic shock while they were living in a nursing home, the staff might have done all they could. However, it is more likely that they were negligent in not noticing symptoms of the underlying condition.
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Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Sepsis, and especially septic shock, is preventable in most cases. If infections are addressed properly at their onset, a nursing home resident probably will not develop sepsis. So, if your loved one developed septic shock, it might have been from the nursing home’s neglect or abuse.
For example, if a nursing home staff member does not clean a resident’s catheter properly, the resident can develop an infection. While an infection should not be underestimated, it is relatively treatable, so if the staff member got the resident the medical attention they needed, they most likely would not have developed sepsis.
If the staff member did not see the signs of infection but noticed the symptoms of sepsis, such as high blood pressure and a higher respiratory rate, and they got the resident medical attention, they might not have developed septic shock.
All of this goes to say, if your loved one developed septic shock in a nursing home, it was because their caregivers did not notice tell-tale signs that they were suffering. Even worse, they might have noticed your loved one’s infection and still did nothing about it.
According to The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, nursing home neglect is the failure to provide assistance to meet the needs of residents, and that neglect can either be intentional or unintentional.
If your loved one’s caregivers failed to provide the services to avoid physical harm, that could be considered neglect. If the staff members intentionally did not take care of your loved one in retaliation or to manipulate them, it could be considered punishment and deprivation, a form of nursing home abuse.
Getting a Nursing Home Lawyer’s Help
Nursing homes are supposed to care for our elderly loved ones when we cannot. We pay them to give our family members the care and support they need. However, nursing home abuse and neglect are rampant. If your loved one developed septic shock, and you believe it could have been because of abuse or neglect, contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC.
We can launch an investigation into conditions at the nursing home to see if neglect or abuse occurred. We can also hold the nursing home accountable through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. You might be entitled to compensation for the following losses related to the septic shock:
- Hospitalization bills
- Surgery costs
- Treatment costs
- Nursing home relocation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
If your loved one passed away from septic shock, you might also be able to recover compensation for their funeral and burial costs, your loss of consortium, and more. This is not a full list of the financial recovery you could be entitled to.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at 800-959-1444 to reach a member of our team for a free, no-risk consultation. If your loved one suffered because of a nursing home’s negligence, they deserve justice.