Sepsis

Do You Know the Signs of Sepsis?

According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors define several types, or stages, of sepsis – a life-threatening condition that can occur when the body’s immune system responds to infection.

Sepsis is characterized by a temperature above 101.3˚F or below 95˚F, a heart rate in excess of 90 beats per minute, breathing in excess of 20 respirations per minute, and the presence or likelihood of infection.

When illness progresses to severe sepsis, a patient’s skin may be mottled, urine output will decrease, mental changes can occur, breathing may grow difficult, and heart and blood changes may be detected.

In septic shock, the symptoms of severe sepsis are further complicated by a drop in blood pressure.

Source: Mayo Clinic.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that is most likely to strike the elderly, very ill hospital or nursing home patients, individuals whose immune systems don’t function properly, infants, and patients who must use such medical devices as breathing tubes and urinary catheters. In the early stages, sepsis may respond to treatment. However, the condition can rapidly escalate, resulting in severe injury or death.

Commonly called “blood poisoning,” sepsis describes a situation that can occur when bacteria enters the body (through the open skin of a bed sore or other point) and causes the immune system to mount an aggressive response. In essence, the immune system’s reaction can actually cause more damage than might have resulted from the original infection. The West Palm Beach nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Freeman Injury Law have the medical and legal knowledge to advise you when someone you care about suffers illness or death caused by sepsis.

What happens when a person develops sepsis? The over-activity of the immune system interferes with its ability to combat tiny blood clots that inflammation creates within the body. Those tiny clots make it hard for the heart to work, and organs throughout the body don’t receive the oxygen they need.

In order to confirm sepsis, a patient’s doctor will order blood tests and perhaps other lab work as well. Aggressive treatment with antibiotics usually takes place in a hospital’s intensive care unit. Drugs are delivered intravenously, and patients must be closely monitored by medical personnel. Additional measures may be needed if sepsis has progressed beyond the initial stages. While mild sepsis usually responds to treatment, the Mayo Clinic’s Foundation for Medical Education and Research reports that as many as 15% of people who develop mild sepsis die from it. When the condition grows more severe, the death rate approaches 50% of patients.

If you suspect that someone you care about might be suffering from sepsis, alert healthcare professionals immediately so that a diagnosis can be confirmed and treatment can be administered. Contact the Fort Lauderdale nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers at Freeman Injury Law to request their analysis of your situation. They have the experience and knowledge needed to review medical records and assess the circumstances that caused your loved one’s illness. Every nursing home resident deserves vigilant and capable care. When those standards seem to be lacking, call on Freeman Injury Law for expert advice and guidance.

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