A doctor looking down and an IV drip hanging behind him

Surgical ErrorsSepsis Lawyer

Timely Diagnosing and Treating Sepsis Saves Lives

Post-surgical infections may lead to sepsis.

Sepsis Medical Malpractice LawyerDiagnosing Sepsis

Sepsis is an infection that results in a systemic inflammatory response. Delays in diagnosing infections and sepsis and its underlying cause significantly increases the risk of death. Post-surgical infections are a known risk of any surgery and accordingly symptoms consistent with infection need to be evaluated for patient safety. Patients that suffer from trauma, burns, surgery (especially abdominal procedures), recent installation of surgical hardware, joint replacement surgery, diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, immunosuppression, old age, infancy, malnutrition, or use catheters are at a heightened risk for developing sepsis and infections.

Sepsis is diagnosed by two or more of the following findings:

  • A temperature above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Respiratory distress.
  • A heart rate above 90 beats per minute.
  • Significantly elevated or depressed white blood cell counts.

The most typical symptoms of sepsis are as follows:

  • Fever and chills.
  • Pain (can be localized to an area or diffuse.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
  • Headache, drowsiness, unresponsiveness.
  • Anxiety, listlessness.

Once a diagnosis of sepsis is made timely treatment is required. The medical malpractice lawyers at Patterson Law offer free consultations to assess whether injuries from an infection or sepsis may be due to malpractice.

Sepsis Is An EmergencySepsis Requires Urgent Treatment

Once a patient is diagnosed with sepsis, blood cultures should be obtained to identify the infecting organism. Certain organisms are indicative of the originating site of the infection. For exam, Gramnegative bacilli indicates the infection came from a urinary source. Cultures may also be taken from the chest, urine or by a lumbar picture depending on the presentation of the patient.

Sepsis is a medical emergency. Treatment to eradicate the infection must begin immediately. Treatment should also reestablish blood pressure levels, oxygenation and blood flow to afflicted tissues. Antibiotic treatment should be started immediately and adjusted as information about the infecting organism is learned from blood cultures. Intravenous administration of antibiotics results in superior delivery of antibiotics throughout the body as opposed to oral and intramuscular antibiotics. Surgery may also be needed to clear the source of the infection or to relive an obstruction, such as in the bowel.

Certain surgeries involve a high risk of infection. This would include abdominal surgeries where antibiotics are administered to prevent infections.

Septic Shock LawyerSeptic Shock is Often Preventable

Treating sepsis in a timely and appropriately aggressive fashion should be done to avoid sepsis progressing to septic shock. Septic shock occurs when the body is losing the battle with an infection. Bacteria then releases toxins in the blood stream. Blood pressure drops significantly. This results in insufficient blood flow to the tissues of the body. Blood flow to vital organs decreases. The body tries to compensate by the heart beating faster and the rate of breathing increases. Toxins continue to build up in the body causing internal bleeding and eventually organ failure. Septic shock can be treated but the condition may result in permanent damage to vital organs and death.

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A Personal Injury Client.

Sepsis after a joint replacement surgery can be difficult to eradicate. The replaced joint often must be removed before the infection can be eliminated.

George Patterson

Medical Malpractice Attorney

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