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Can sepsis be caused by medical negligence?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2018 | Firm News, Medical Malpractice |

Louisiana residents may have heard of the term sepsis, but some may not be sure what it means and how it differs from an infection. Though the two conditions are connected, there is one important way in which sepsis differs from an infection. An infection takes place when germs enter a body and multiply, causing disease or organ damage, whereas sepsis is what happens when the infection is not stopped. This means that sepsis takes place when someone already has an infection, and it triggers a reaction in the body.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme reaction to an infection. Since the symptoms of sepsis, such as confusion, clammy and sweaty skin, fever and shivering, high heart rate and extreme pain are similar to symptoms of other conditions, sepsis is commonly misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in a timely manner. This is why it is often not diagnoses in the early stages, when treatment is straightforward. If treated at early stages with an antibiotic and fluids, a person may be able to walk away from the hospital and continue to lead their life normally. If untreated, sepsis can lead to death.

Anyone can get an infection, and any infection can lead to sepsis but there are certain infections and certain patients who are more likely to become affected. The infections commonly linked to sepsis are lung, kidney, gut and skin ones. People who are over the age of 65 or under the age of one are more likely to contract sepsis, as are people with weakened immune systems and chronic conditions such as lung cancer or diabetes.

Ideally, doctors should conduct lab tests that check for organ damage and signs of infection, to diagnose the condition. Additionally, physical findings such as fever, higher breath rates and low blood pressure could all be indicative of sepsis. However, the similarity of sepsis to other infections often causes a failure to diagnose. This mistake could be costly physically, emotionally and financially. When Louisiana residents become a victim to a medical mistake that could have been avoided, they may want to consider pursuing a medical negligence lawsuit.