Information About Sepsis Dangers and Sepsis-Associated Deaths in Hospital Settings
When a person’s immune system becomes compromised, the body can respond in deadly ways, such as septicemia, a lethal condition more commonly known as – sepsis. A 2019 Critical Care Medicine investigative report confirmed that sepsis is highly present in hospitals and that it contributes significantly to patient deaths, some preventable. About one-third of people who develop sepsis will die from it, and as many as 65 percent of those people were being treated for another issue in a hospital setting at the time of their sepsis diagnosis.
Sepsis occurs when a person develops a bacterial infection in their bloodstream. It can happen to any patient, at any age. For those who survive, many will be left in a life-altering state and battle conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and fatigue, organ dysfunction, brain and heart conditions, and disabling amputations. Family members and caregivers may also become exhausted and depressed due to the difficult recovery and therapies their loved one now requires.
These common conditions or events may weaken a person’s ability to fight sepsis:
- undiagnosed bug bite (such as a Tick)
- genitourinary or urinary tract infection
- infections from surgical incisions
- infected teeth and mouth inflammation
- unmanaged pressure sores
Chronic illnesses that are being mismanaged or misdiagnosed, such as diabetes, kidney disease, and some cardiac conditions may put a person at higher risk of sepsis as well. For those with chronic health problems and aged 65 years and older, death or a complicated recovery spent in a skilled nursing or rehabilitative care unit will be necessary.
Prevention Seems to Be the Missing Step in Hospital Sepsis Cases
Most infections are present for some time before sepsis takes hold, meaning a health care worker or health system may not have been fulfilling their duty of care. Many of the illnesses and complications which open the door to sepsis are preventable through regular vaccinations, proper wound care and cleanliness, and could be as simple as frequent hand washing and the removal of any bacteria from the patient. Prevention, detection, and quick treatment are vital in addressing sepsis risks and outcomes. If a patient develops sepsis due to being improperly or negligently treated or monitored in a clinical setting, the medical personnel tasked with caring for them can often be held liable.
Illinois Law Designed to Help Prevent and Treat Sepsis
In 2016, Illinois policymakers introduced Illinois Senate Bill 2403 (SB-2403), also known as Gabby’s Law, to improve sepsis prevention and early recognition.
This law requires hospitals to:
- Implement an evidence-based process for quickly recognizing and treating adults and children with sepsis.
- Train staff to identify and treat patients with possible sepsis.
- Collect sepsis data to improve the quality of care and provide to the state (e.g. sepsis data to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting program).
SB-2403 was named after 5-year-old Gabby Galbo of Monticello. Gabby developed an infection from an undetected tick bite that ultimately led to her death in 2012 from undiagnosed and untreated sepsis.
Levin & Perconti Can Help Your Family
If you believe that a loved one has developed septicemia in a hospital or extended care facility because of negligence or improper treatment administered by the medical professionals responsible for their care in Chicago or the greater Illinois area, it is crucial that you take action on their behalf quickly.
Contact the medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti today, online or by telephone at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
Read more about sepsis here.