Sepsis: When Going to the Hospital Can Mean Getting Sicker

When you are sick or injured, you might go to the hospital with the expectation that medical staff will make you feel better. However, sometimes negligent care, surgical complications, or untreated infections can cause a patient to become even sicker during a hospital stay. Sometimes, patients even die from hospital-acquired infections! The most common type of hospital-acquired infection is sepsis.

Sepsis is not necessarily a disease by itself, but rather the result of an infection that reaches the bloodstream. It occurs when the body responds to an infection, but has a dysfunctional response, causing the body to actually further damage organs and tissues. When this happens, the body may experience septic shock. At this stage, heart failure, drops in blood pressure, or failure of organs may occur, sometimes leading to death. Common infections that lead to sepsis include:

  • lung infections, like pneumonia
  • reproductive system infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • abdominal and digestive system infections

After a major surgery or long hospital stay, patients are also susceptible to sepsis.

According to a 2015 study, septic shock was the result of 58.3% of deaths. 20.8% of death occurred in an intensive care unit, while 24.9% of patients died after being discharged. This shows why sepsis is so dangerous, as it can emerge once a patient seems like they are recovering.

Symptoms

  • Body temperature above 101 degrees or below 96.8 degrees
  • High heart rate
  • Decreased urine output
  • Sudden changes in mental state
  • Decrease in platelet count
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain

Treatment

Like many other health conditions, septic shock requires emergency treatment. Since it often occurs when a patient is already at a hospital, it seems like the mortality rate should not be so high. However, due to misdiagnoses, delayed treatment, or other types of potential medical malpractice, patients with sepsis are often left untreated. Additionally, after a patient is discharged from an intensive care unit, they might not be as carefully monitored, since it may seem like the worst is over.

When a patient is recovering at a hospital, the last thing they want is yet another sickness! When a relative is admitted to the hospital, or if you’re going in for a stay yourself, make sure you know the warning signs of sepsis. Speak up if you sense something is wrong, even a doctor or nurse tries to convince you otherwise. If serious illness or death occurs as a result of a delay of treatment or misdiagnoses of sepsis, consider talking with a medical malpractice attorney.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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