What is Sepsis and Septic Shock?
Sepsis can occur when the body has a potentially life-threatening immune system response to bacterial and other infections. Normally, when the immune system is faced with an infection, it releases chemicals to try and rid the body of the problem. With sepsis, those same chemicals which are released cause problems and major organs will not work properly and can be injured. Sepsis can also cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure which is known as septic shock.
Septic shock has a very high death rate if it is not treated properly. The death rate is higher in patients with the following risk factors:
- Very early or very advanced age groups
- Immuno-compromised or recently recovering from an infection
- Patients that are recovering from surgery
- Patients that recently sustained physical trauma to their body
- Chronic illnesses such as AIDS, kidney disease or diabetes
Medical Misdiagnosis of Sepsis and Sepsis Malpractice Lawsuits
Healthcare providers should be on the lookout for any warning signs of sepsis or septic shock, especially in patients with the above risk factors or in patients who are hospitalized for an illness to begin with. If sepsis and/or septic shock is treated early on with antibiotics and fluids, patients have a better chance of survival and recovery. Prompt diagnosis and proper treatment are key to preventing organ and limb damage and death. Medical misdiagnosis of sepsis can lead to serious health complications or even death. If this occurs, contact Weiss & Paarz for an evaluation to see if we can potentially help with a sepsis malpractice lawsuit settlement.
Signs & Symptoms of Sepsis and/or Septic Shock
- Probable or confirmed infection
- Confusion or disorientation
- Extreme body temperature, chills
- Lack of normal urine stream
- Shortness of breath
- Tachycardia & palpitations
- Low blood pressure
- Pale, cool skin
Sepsis Diagnosis and Treatments
Sepsis can be diagnosed through lab work (blood tests and urine samples), which are screened for signs of infection, clotting problems, abnormal organ function, reduced oxygenation, and other abnormalities or imbalances. Additionally, if there are no obvious signs of infection, doctors may order imaging studies such as x-ray’s, ultrasounds, MRI, or CT scans which can lend more insight into what’s happening with their patients internally. It is also important to closely track a patient’s vital signs, such as their temperature, heart rate, and breathing – to ensure that they are not at risk of septic shock. Treatment for sepsis depends on the severity of each case, and may or may not involve the following:
- Antibiotics, oftentimes beginning with broad spectrum antibiotics that combat a wide range of bacterias, and these can be tweaked as needed depending on how effective they are
- IV fluid administration or increases
- Surgery, if necessary, to remove any potential sources of infection such as an abscess, gangrenous tissue, etc.
The most important goal associated with treating sepsis is to prevent septic shock, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Misdiagnosing Sepsis And The Consequences Of Mismanagement
Unfortunately, there are scenarios where a patient exhibits the signs and symptoms of sepsis and/or septic shock and is misdiagnosed or left without proper treatment during a valuable time window when treatment will still make a significant difference in the patient’s prognosis. New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys Weiss & Paarz handle cases of undiagnosed sepsis, misdiagnosed sepsis, and/or septic shock that went left untreated. While the majority of patients typically recover from mild sepsis that was treated early on, approximately half of all patients that have been unfortunate enough to develop severe sepsis and/or have gone into septic shock end up losing their life. The other half is typically faced with severe, permanent injuries. In these cases, you may have the grounds for a sepsis lawsuit.
How to Investiage a Potential Sepsis Malpractice Lawsuit with Weiss & Paarz
Injury from sepsis misdiagnosis and/or untreated sepsis or septic shock can cause many sudden hardships for patients and their families, including but not limited to new physical, emotional, and financial challenges. While it is hard to set aside time to contact an attorney while these tragedies are taking place, it is important to keep in mind that there are time limits involved in filing a claim and taking legal action to recover compensation.
If you or a loved one has experienced a serious, permanent injury or death which you believe may have been due to the failure to diagnose or treat sepsis and/or septic shock, you may be entitled to compensation including:
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future loss of wages
- Long-term disability
- Long-term care expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Burial expenses
New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers Michael L. Weiss, Esq. and Robert E. Paarz, Esq. are committed to using their knowledge and experience to help any individual or family who has suffered a severe, permanent injury or death due to medical malpractice to obtain fair compensation. We do not charge any fees to our clients unless we recover money for them. Contact us today for a case evaluation or to learn more details about a sepsis malpractice lawsuit.