Sepsis, septicemia or blood poisoning is a severe illness in which the blood becomes overwhelmed with bacteria or an infection. It can lead to inflammation in the entire body causing a systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Patients, who most likely would have fully recovered from their original injuries or illnesses, are dying from sepsis. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the amount of patients hospitalized for sepsis has more than doubled in eight years.
Sepsis is caused by an infection that starts somewhere the body and it is usually due to a staph, strep, e-coli or enterococcus bacterial infection. In adults, the most common causes of sepsis are peritonitis, a ruptured bowel, urinary tract or bladder infections, pyelonephritis, meningitis, pneumonia, surgical wounds, surgical drains, bedsores or decubitus ulcers, cellulitis, infected intravenous (IV), PICC, or central lines or any other catheter that is in the body. In children, a common cause of sepsis is osteomyelitis or an infection of the bone and in neonates or newborns, sepsis can be caused by a prolonged rupture of the amniotic fluid, Group B strep, Chlamydia, an infected IV or umbilical line or pneumonia.
When a patient is developing sepsis they may become confused or have a change in mental status, hyperventilate or breathe fast, shake or have the chills, urinate less, develop a rash and have a fever or a low body temperature (hypothermia). If the sepsis is not diagnosed and treated right away with the correct antibiotics, it could cause the patient to go into septic shock.
Septic shock causes a very low blood pressure, which causes a decrease the amount of blood and oxygen reaching the other organs, leading to multi-system organ failure (MSOF). In MSOF, the major organs, including the brain, liver, kidneys and lungs, all stop working properly. If a patient in septic shock does not receive the appropriate antibiotics, medications to support the blood pressure, and respiratory support with oxygen or a breathing machine (ventilator), it could lead to death. Sometimes, even if a patient does receive the proper treatments for septic shock, the infection may be too overwhelming for the body to be able to respond to the medications. That is why it is so important to diagnose and treat infections prior to them causing sepsis or septic shock.
Many patients fall victim to sepsis or septic shock because they are either not placed on antibiotics fast enough or placed on the wrong antibiotic. If you or a loved one was catastrophically injured, permanently damaged, or suffered a wrongful death due to sepsis or septic shock, our highly experienced lawyers, doctors, and nurses here at the Beasley medical malpractice law firm are here to help you. Please feel free to contact us at (215) 866-2424 for strictly confidential and free consultation.