250,000+ Deaths Each Year
More than 250,000 Americans die every year from sepsis. Millions more are affected by sepsis, including the over 1.5 million victims and their loved ones. Sepsis has catastrophic consequences for all those that fall prey to these runaway infections.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is an infection in the bloodstream. In the past, many used the blanket term of blood poisoning. Blood poisoning involves septicemia which means that there are harmful bacteria in the bloodstream. It is a precursor to sepsis. Septicemia can and does frequently lead to sepsis if left untreated. However, bacteria’s not the only source of sepsis. Sepsis can also result from fungal and viral infections. Whatever the origin, the process leading to sepsis is rapid and brutal.
Prevention of Sepsis Requires Rapid Medical Response
Prevention of sepsis once the conditions are in place requires immediate medical attention. Without a rapid medical response, sepsis can lead to rapid tissue damage, organ damage and, too often, death as evidenced by the 250,000+ Americans that die each year from the condition.
Every infection can lead to sepsis. Many times, sepsis arises from rather minor infections. These minor infections turn deadly too often in vulnerable populations such as infants, the elderly, the immobile, those with chronic health conditions and/or weakened immune systems. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, lung disease to name a few render individuals susceptible to infection and infection is the root of sepsis. The most common sources of sepsis are staph, strep and e coli infections.
In the Absence of Precautions, Healthcare Setting Provide Optimal Conditions for Sepsis
Healthcare settings ironically and tragically provide opportune conditions for sepsis. First, the conditions above are inevitably present. Second, infections are frequent and easily transported from one patient to another, from medical staff to patients and from the public to both patients and other medical staff. Finally, there are infections attributable directly to negligent medical care such as catheter-related infection, failure to appropriately treat infections and worst of all pressure sores (bed sores). The latter two factors are controllable and preventable. Unfortunately, there are medical care facilities that do little to prevent them.
There are a number of healthcare settings where sepsis commonly occurs due to lack of adequate protective measures to prevent it. The worst offenders are nursing homes and prisons. However, there are other medical care settings as well that are frequent offenders. These include hospitals, clinics and home health. The fact is that any infection can be deadly for vulnerable patients. Sadly, there is a heavy burden placed on patients and their families to monitor and insist on appropriate treatment for those infections.
Answers from Medical Providers can be Hard to Get
When a patient does become septic, there are many questions that should be asked. Unfortunately, these questions will typically not be answered fully and honestly by the subject medical care providers without a fight. These same medical providers will distance themselves from any responsibility for sepsis. They will do so even in the face of clear and unquestionable negligence on their part.
In short, to get answers of any consequence from these providers, patients or their surviving loved ones will have to get them through legal proceedings. This means getting a lawyer to obtain those answers. Collins & Collins, P.C., once taking a sepsis related case, gets answers. Those answers determine whether the medical provider was medically negligent, is guilty of medical malpractice and should be held accountable under the law for their negligent actions and/or inactions.