Yesterday we discussed a new medical device which allows testing for possible bloodstream infections far quicker than in the past. Hopefully the device will prove useful in identifying the infections and allow speedy treatment to prevent long-term consequences. The need for the new test is paramount both because of the serious harm that results and the millions who are affected.
Unfortunately, many instances of sepsis are caused by medical negligence.
For example, NBC News recently reported on a lawsuit filed by a 20-year old woman and her family after she lost parts of all four limbs as a results of sepsis. The medical malpractice lawsuit specifically alleges that inaction by the medical team providing her care led to the serious consequences which caused her amputations.
The woman, who was 18 years old at the time, went to the emergency room in 2010 showing signs of a dangerous infection. Yet, according to the complaint filed which initiated the suit, the young woman was discharged without any medication. The discharge even came before the results of a test came back which indicated that she had a urinary tract infection.
The problem did not end there.
The following day the woman went back to the hospital–she had a fever and an elevated heart rate. She was admitted to the hospital, but the care she received was not up to par, according to the complaint. In fact, the woman was placed in a “clinical decision unit” without antibiotics, insufficient fluid resuscitation, no blood pressure therapy, and insufficient observation.”
Eventually the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit. Over the next few weeks her condition deteriorated. As happens when one faces sepsis, the woman’s body began sending blood flow to the vital organs instead of her limbs. This eventually resulted in a series of disfiguring surgeries–she lost half of both legs and arms.
Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers appreciate the severe consequences these sorts of injuries have on the life of those affected. The woman in this case, for example, cannot go to the bathroom, eat, or brush her teeth without help.
One of the best ways to prevent sepsis is to ensure proper infection-prevention standards at all medical institutions. For example, even something as simple as proper hand washing by medical professionals can go a long way to eliminate the problem. Similarly, reasonable care of urinary catheters and IV lines are important to prevent the infections which cause sepsis.
Unfortunately, many hospitals continue to act unreasonably, allowing these infections to develop. A 2011 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that there were more than 1.6 million hospitalizations involving sepsis each year. That amounts to 4,600 new patients each and every day. This represents a more than two-fold increase in recent years. Considering the consequences and the prevalence of the problem, it goes without saying that this problem needs to be addressed by hospitals.
In Illinois please consider contacting our medical malpractice attorneys to see how we can help if you developed sepsis while in the hospital which might have been prevented had proper care been provided.
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