Was the cleanliness, or lack thereof, the cause of your sepsis?

Like other Louisiana residents, you probably expect a hospital to be clean. After all, people have surgery and are ill there, and you expect that hospital regulations would mandate that everything remain clean and sterile.

It may be that way on paper, but in reality, it may be a different story. Something as simple as a nurse or doctor failing to wash his or her hands between patients could lead to serious health ramifications for patients. This is just one of the ways that you could contract an infection in a hospital setting, and pinpointing the cause of your infection may require some investigation. In any case, at some point, a doctor came in and told you that you had sepsis.

What is sepsis?

When you contract an infection, your body responds by activating your immune system and fighting it off. Your body may need help in the form of antibiotics, antifungals, antiparasitics or antivirals depending on the type of infection from which you suffer. If you came down with sepsis, at some point, your body switched gears and betrayed you. Instead of fighting the infection, it began to attack your body's systems. This is sepsis.

If you developed sepsis, it's possible that your infection was not properly treated or diagnosed too late. Even in the early stages of sepsis, you could suffer adverse health effects. As the infection spreads, your life becomes increasingly jeopardized. If your illness progresses into severe sepsis, your organs could begin to fail.

For instance, you could have trouble breathing, your mental status could change and you could stop urinating or urinate very little. If doctors fail to address severe sepsis adequately or fail to even diagnose it, you could progress into septic shock during which your blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels.

Is your sepsis the result of medical malpractice?

Contracting a hospital acquired infection that leads to sepsis could indicate that hospital staff members such as doctors and nurses made mistakes. Unsanitary conditions, a surgical mistake or some other error may have led to your infection and subsequent diagnosis of sepsis. It's also possible that medical professionals delayed in making a diagnosis, which jeopardized your health.

The only way to know for sure is to investigate the circumstances surrounding your illness. If it turns out your medical team made mistakes, then you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and possible ongoing health issues resulting from sepsis.

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Vincent J. DeSalvo, Attorney at Law
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