Residents of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, and surrounding counties might be surprised to learn that healthcare-acquired infections (HAI) are quite common risks in medical facilities. These facilities can include hospitals, skilled nursing care homes, clinics and doctor’s offices. If left untreated, these infections often lead to sepsis.
When HAIs lead to sepsis
Both HAIs and infections acquired outside of the healthcare environment, or nosocomial infections, can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is the body’s reaction to infection and can present with fever, chills, high heartrate, confusion, extreme pain and shortness of breath. It is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention.
Medical malpractice can often lead to HAIs and therefore, sepsis. Immunocompromised individuals who are on chemotherapy or those with chronic illness like diabetes are even more susceptible to infections triggering sepsis. Unfortunately, these individuals are more likely to spend more time in places like hospitals where bacteria and viruses are prevalent.
What types of medical malpractice can lead to sepsis?
Medical malpractice can include healthcare workers failing to properly clean and sanitize their hands or tools prior to treatment. Additionally, patients confined to a bed due to illness can develop pressure ulcers if they are not turned regularly. These sores can easily become infected and lead to sepsis.
A misdiagnosis is a type of medical negligence that can also lead to sepsis. When a more severe infection is diagnosed as something less severe, valuable time to treat the infection is lost, and the patient can suffer.
Another factor in a misdiagnosis is that test results can be misinterpreted. Testing for infection can include lab tests or bloodwork; imaging scans like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs; and biopsy or removing part of the infected tissue to inspect.
What to do if you have an infection that does not get better
If you have an infection that does not improve, it is imperative to seek medical treatment. In the case that you or a loved one developed sepsis due to medical malpractice, you may also want to contact an attorney who has experience with these types of matters.