Sepsis and Septic Shock: Medical Negligence for Failing to Diagnose

A patient with an infection requires careful medical attention. But negligence from your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional can lead to a very serious condition called sepsis. Sepsis is an extreme systemic reaction to an ongoing bacterial or viral infection. Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency and requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Symptoms requiring prompt hospital-based evaluation include:

In general, symptoms of sepsis can include:

  • Chills
  • Confusion or delirium
  • Lightheadedness due to low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Skin rash or mottled skin
  • Warm skin

Sepsis presents in three stages:

  • Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS)
  • Severe sepsis
  • Septic shock
When sepsis occurs, prompt diagnosis of its stage and identification of its source where possible are important in order to treat the underlying infection properly and prevent the patient’s response from progressing to severe sepsis or septic shock. Patients with sepsis require treatment in a hospital setting because sepsis, by definition, causes organ dysfunction, and septic shock can cause organ failure and death. [then give the statistics on sepsis]. Acute care hospitals should employ and follow guidelines to diagnose and manage sepsis and septic shock, following the Surviving Sepsis Campaign: International Guidelines for Management of Sepsis and Septic Shock. As it progresses, sepsis can attack the body’s organs, damaging them or causing them to shut down entirely. The final phase is called septic shock, a medical emergency that generally requires treatment in the intensive care unit. Sepsis can be life-altering, resulting in chronic pain, fatigue, and organ dysfunction.

Ways malpractice can cause sepsis or make it worse

Without proper treatment, sepsis can be fatal. Unfortunately, this is very common. Nearly 270,000 Americans die of sepsis every year, according to Yahoo News. Many of those patients died because of errors committed by hospital staff, such as:
  • Failure to diagnose an infection or sepsis
  • Prescribing improper antibiotics
  • Failure to identify and remove the source of the infection
  • Not providing needed fluids
Fatal sepsis due to medical negligence is preventable. Normally, if the medical professionals provide the level of due care owed to the patient, they likely survive. Instead, substandard medical attention can cost the life of a beloved spouse, parent or child. The toll on the surviving family can be invaluable. Still, litigation can help expose malpractice and relieve the financial burden it frequently causes.

Take action following a sepsis infection

If your sepsis was caused by untreated primary infections or other healthcare provider negligence, you may want to consider your legal options. Medical malpractice attorneys in New Mexico can evaluate your case to determine if a medical negligence claim is an option. People deserve to trust that the health care they receive is safe. Thus, sometimes, seeking compensation through the court system is the only way to hold healthcare providers and facilities accountable.