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Sepsis: Are You at Risk?

A recent story takes a look at the risks and symptoms of sepsis.

Sepsis is the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 258,000 Americans die each year from sepsis. Yet, many people do not know what sepsis is, let alone the risks of the illness.

The Sepsis Alliance defines sepsis as “the presence of pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood and tissues.” It is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. Sepsis can occur when the body releases chemicals into a patient’s blood while trying to fight off an infection. The immune system essentially goes into “overdrive” causing widespread inflammation throughout the body. The end result can be organ failure, or death.

The symptoms are, generally, not specific and can be seen with a number of other medical conditions making sepsis difficult to diagnose. notes that some of the symptoms of sepsis may include the following:

  • High or very low temperature
  • Chills
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Restlessness, agitation, lethargy or confusion

If the illness is allowed to progress to severe sepsis, a person may become confused, disoriented, and struggle to breath. Septic shock is the final, most serious stage of sepsis. Approximately sixty percent of those who suffer from septic shock will die. Those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to developing sepsis.

The faster a patient with sepsis is diagnosed and receives treatment, the more likely they will survive the illness. Treatment will likely include aggressive antibiotics along with other necessary care.

If you believe you or a loved one is suffering from sepsis, you should immediately seek medical attention.

A delay in the diagnosis of sepsis can result in serious consequences, including death. When that delay is the result of inadequate medical care, it may be the basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The medical negligence attorneys at Lopez McHugh, LLP can help you determine if you have a valid lawsuit for injuries caused by a delayed sepsis diagnosis or other negligent medical treatment. Contact our medical malpractice team for a free, confidential case evaluation today.