In Brooklyn, New York (NY), a mother of a 12-year old daughter, underwent a routine gynecological (GYN) operation. During the surgery, her bowel or intestine was punctured causing a massive infection or sepsis. The overwhelming blood poisoning caused her to develop blood clots in her legs that led to a decrease in her circulation and gangrene in her limbs. As a result of the overwhelming infection, she had to have both of her gangrenous legs amputated. She is currently seeking unspecified monetary damages for the alleged medical malpractice of the doctors and hospital that were treating her at the time of the surgery.
Sepsis, also called bacteremia, septicemia, septic shock or blood poisoning is caused by an infection or abscess that starts somewhere the body. If the infection is not diagnosed or treated properly it could lead to organ failure, brain damage, clotting problems or even death. Patients who are septic or in septic shock may exhibit the following signs or symptoms:
- A very high fever or very low body temperature
- A fast heart rate or tachycardia
- Hyperventilation or breathing fast
- Low blood oxygenation or pulse ox reading
- A change in mental status or confusion
- A low blood pressure or hypotension
- Cardiovascular dysfunction or heart failure
- Respiratory failure or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
- Brain encephalopathy
- Brain hemorrhage
- Microthrombi or blood clots
- Liver failure
- Low platelets and easy bruising or petechial rash
- Prolonged bleeding times or high International Normalized Ratio (INR)
- Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC)
- High bilirubin level
- Low urine output or no urine produced
- Electrolyte abnormalities such as a high potassium level or hyperkalemia
- Fluid or volume overload
- Renal or kidney failure
Infections or sepsis are usually caused by staph, strep, ecoli, pseudomonas, P. aeruginosa, E. corrodens or enterococcus bacteria. In adults, the most common causes of sepsis are abscesses or boils, peritonitis, a ruptured or perforated bowel, kidney stones, strep throat, urinary tract or bladder infections, pyelonephritis, meningitis, pneumonia, surgical wounds, surgical drains, bedsores or decubitus ulcers, cellulitis, infected intravenous (IV), PICC line, central lines or any other catheter that is in the body such as a Foley catheter. In children, common causes of sepsis are osteomyelitis or an infection of the bone, untreated strep throat, and in neonates or newborns, sepsis can be caused by a prolonged rupture of the amniotic fluid, Group B strep (Beta strep or GBS), Chlamydia, an infected IV or umbilical line or pneumonia. Many times, a newborn or child will present with a fever, rash or flu-like symptoms and a physician or pediatrician believes the infection is a virus or viral in nature, when in fact it is a bacterial infection and will not prescribe antibiotics until it is too late.
Once an infection is suspected, a culture of the blood, urine, sputum, wound, abscess, pus, tissue, throat or catheter tip should be carried out to see what organism is causing the infection. Once the organism is identified a sensitivity report must be generated to see what antibiotic the bacterium is sensitive to. Some bacterial infections have become resistant to certain antibiotics and will not help in treating the local infection and preventing sepsis. It would be like giving a sugar pill or placebo to treat the infection, which obviously will not work in killing the organism.
If you or a loved one developed sepsis or septic shock that resulted in organ damage, an amputation, brain damage or death, it may have been due to:
- The infection not diagnosed in a timely manner
- The infection was not treated soon enough
- Being placed on the wrong antibiotic
- Not being placed on an antibiotic
- Being told it was a virus or viral infection
- Being placed on the wrong dose of antibiotic
- Not prescribed an antibiotic long enough
Since 1958, The Philadelphia Beasley Firm has been the law firm that many judges, lawyers, and doctors turn to when facing catastrophic injury or wrongful death due to medical malpractice, sepsis or septic shock. The Beasley Firm is chaired by medical doctor, James Beasley, Jr., a "Super Lawyer" and one of the "Best Lawyers in America." Our medical malpractice sepsis team also has a complete full time nursing and medical research staff - including two doctors who are attorneys, and several emergency room and intensive care registered nurses.
If you, your baby, or loved one has suffered due to an infection that was not properly treated, please feel free to contact one of our experienced medical malpractice lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424. Our highly specialized failure to treat infection team consists of doctors and nurses who have spent thousands of hours at patient's bedsides treating individuals with overwhelming infections and sepsis. To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients with multiple million and multi-million verdicts and settlements.