What is sepsis?
Sepsis is an inflammatory response to infection, and a potentially deadly one, at that. It usually includes a fever, low blood pressure, and a fast heartbeat. Severe sepsis leads to abdominal pain, respiratory distress, and arrhythmia. Patients may seem disoriented. Severe sepsis can lead to organ failure.
If left untreated, a patient can go into septic shock. This includes all the same symptoms, plus a dangerous drop in blood pressure. Between 20% and 40% of patients who go into septic shock will die as a result.
A large portion of people who develop sepsis do so during a hospital stay. Most patients develop sepsis because they have an undiagnosed/untreated infection, but it can also be caused by the insertion of intravenous lines, or by bed sores. The longer an infection goes undiagnosed or untreated, the greater the risk that the patient will develop sepsis.
When is a hospital liable for sepsis?
You may be able to hold a hospital liable for sepsis if negligence is the root cause. Examples of hospital negligence include:
- Improper post-operative care, including failure to close and clean wounds
- Improper handwashing by medical personnel
- Failure to properly sanitize medical equipment, or to use properly sterilized tools
- Poor care for bedsores or other open wounds
- Failure for medical staff to wear gloves or other PPE, leading to the spread of healthcare-acquired infections (HAI)
- Improper insertion of IVs or other medical equipment
- Use of defective medical devices
- Failure to properly monitor patients
- Errors regarding patient charts and health records
Proving medical malpractice leading to sepsis
In a medical malpractice case involving sepsis, you will need to prove four elements to show negligence:
- You, as a patient, were owed a duty of care by your doctors;
- Your doctors’ negligent actions violated that duty of care;
- You suffered harm or injuries as result of the violation; and
- You sustained damages from those injuries or harms.
The second point, regarding the doctor violating the standard of care because of negligence, is the most difficult of the elements to prove. Our NJ medical malpractice attorneys, often in conjunction with medical experts, review your records and the actions of the doctors to prove that negligence.
If you developed sepsis due to the negligence of a hospital doctor, you might be able to file a claim. If you lost a loved one because of sepsis, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Either way, you should consult with the experienced team at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP by calling our office at 732-777-0100 or completing a contact form. Our offices are located in Edison, Toms River, and Red Bank for your convenience.
Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP has purposely remained small in size, because it is important to us that we get to know our clients and their needs. Larger NJ injury firms may churn out case after case, but that’s not how we operate. Partners Barry Eichen, William Crutchlow, and Daryl Zaslow have created a firm with the resources to handle complex litigation, and a team that takes your case personally.
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