More than 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the country. Family and loved ones expect their loved ones to receive the medical care and personal support they need to live well and comfortably. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nationwide, there are nursing facilities that fail to uphold the expected duty of care and many nursing home residents die as a result every year. Sepsis is a widespread health issue affecting nursing homes.
According to the Nursing Home Research Center, sepsis is a serious medical condition that poses a great threat to nursing home residents and accounts for the number one reason residents are transferred to hospitals. Moreover, these individuals are more likely to die in a hospital compared to people hospitalized for other conditions. The Mayo Clinic states septic shock, or advanced-stage sepsis has about a 40% mortality rate.
Sepsis may be a result of neglect or medical malpractice. If you or a loved one has suffered from sepsis while under medical care in a hospital or nursing home, seeking experienced legal counsel can help you to get compensation for pain, suffering or loss of life as a result of sepsis from neglect.
What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a blood condition that occurs when the body is fighting a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection, such as an upper respiratory infection, pneumonia, urinary tract infection, clostridium difficile (C.diff), or pressure sores. The immune system combats infection by releasing chemicals into the bloodstream, triggering an inflammatory response.
There are three stages to sepsis and if left unchecked, this immune response can cause a severe and potentially life-threatening imbalance in blood composition. This can impede blood flow to vital organs, including the heart, brain, and kidneys, impairing their functionality. Septic shock occurs when there is acute organ failure because of sepsis.
In the elderly, sepsis is commonly due to bedsores or illness such as urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, pneumonia or IV infections. If your loved one has bedsores that are not being treated, bring the condition to the facility’s attention. Sepsis must be identified and treated quickly, before it advances into septic shock.
Who Is at Risk for Sepsis
The CDC notes adults who are age 65 and older, infants under a year old, people with weak or compromised immune systems, or those with chronic medical conditions, including kidney or lung disease, cancer, and diabetes are most at risk for sepsis. Bedridden patients are also at high risk due to the increased risk of bedsores and subsequent infection.
Sepsis is preventable, and in its early stages, it is often highly treatable. Nursing home staff and medical providers should know the risk factors for sepsis and how to prevent it. They should also know how to detect signs of sepsis and act swiftly if it occurs. For instance, nursing home staff can prevent pressure sores by turning immobile patients regularly and practicing other infection-control measures.
Sepsis and Nursing Home Lawsuits
It is important to take sepsis seriously and ensure your loved one receives prompt medical attention. If the condition is untreated or is recurring, this is a red flag that abuse or neglect may be occurring. Other warning signs include sepsis caused by unexplained injuries or bedsores.
Conditions such as dirty bed linens, insufficient staff, failure to regularly bathe residents, or wash clothing are all warning signs of an unsanitary or unsafe environment.
If you believe your loved one’s death or injury was caused by a nursing home’s negligence or willful, reckless actions, you should speak with an attorney. Every nursing home patient deserves to be treated with compassion and respect. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are dedicated to assisting clients throughout the emotional and confusing time after an injury or death. We have years of experience and the extensive resources you need to secure a fair case result.