What Is Sepsis? “Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.” – The Sepsis Foundation. Sepsis is serious and kills nearly 300,000 Americans every year.

Medical professionals have been debating the exact definition of sepsis for decades. However, one thing they can agree upon is the origin of the disease. The word sepsis comes from the Greek meaning “decay” or “to putrefy.” In medical terms, sepsis is defined as either “the presence of pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood or tissues” or “the poisoned condition resulting from the presence of pathogens or their toxins as in septicemia.”[1]

Do You Suspect Your Loved One Has Developed Sepsis?If you suspect your loved one has developed sepsis during the course of their residence in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other occupational facility, first contact emergency services and tell them you suspect sepsis, then contact an experienced nursing home injury lawyer. At Hughey Law Firm, we have the experience and resources to help you and your loved one get the justice you both deserve. We have developed a network of medical and nursing professionals and experienced investigators who are ready to research and document every aspect of your case and help establish any potential liability of your loved one’s caregivers and the corporate owners and insurers of the facility. Allowing a resident to become septic does not meet the high standard of care your loved one deserves or that the law requires. If you suspect sepsis, contact us online or call 843-881-8644 for a free consultation of your case.

If you have a loved one in long term care, a nursing home, or other assisted living facility, it is important that you learn the warning signs of sepsis because, unfortunately, it may be up to you to get your loved one the treatment they need to prevent septic shock. Sepsis symptoms are grouped into five broad categories. Within these categories, the symptoms can appear conflicting:

  • General Symptoms
    • Fever
    • Hypothermia
    • Heart rate > 90 beats per minute
    • Fast respiratory rate
    • Altered mental status (confusion/coma)
  • Inflammatory
    • High white count
    • Low white count
    • Immature white cells in the circulation
    • Elevated plasma C-reactive protein
    • Elevated procalcitonin (PCT)
  • Hemodynamic
    • Low blood pressure
    • Low central venous or mixed venous oxygen saturation
    • High cardiac index
  • Organ Dysfunction
    • Low oxygen level
    • Low urine output
    • High creatinine
    • Coagulation abnormalities
    • Absent bowel sounds
    • Low platelets
    • High bilirubin
  • Tissue Perfusion
    • High lactate
    • Decreased capillary filling or mottling

Post-Sepsis Syndrome

It is important that sepsis be detected and treated early. A study by the University of Michigan Health System published in 2010 in the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that “60% of hospitalizations for severe sepsis were associated with worsened cognitive and physical function among surviving older adults. The odds of acquiring moderate to severe cognitive impairment were 3.3 times higher following an episode of sepsis than for other hospitalizations.”[2] Cognitive decline is only one of the ways Post-Sepsis Syndrome presents. Your loved one may also suffer from physical decline, experience long-term neurological effects, or even develop emotional problems. At least 50% of all sepsis survivors will develop Post-Sepsis Syndrome (PSS).

Even the descriptions of the symptoms are technical and complex but rest assured that with our experience we can guide you through the complexities of a sepsis claim. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We do not charge attorney fees or costs unless we help you recover money for your injuries. A nursing home injury lawyer from the team at Hughey Law Firm in Charleston, South Carolina, is ready to help you and your loved one. We care.

*Fees calculated before expenses.

[1]”Definition of Sepsis”; The Sepsis Alliance; Date [n:d]; Viewed: 9/24/15; http://www.sepsis.org/sepsis/definition

[2]”Sepsis Survivors More Than Three Times as Likely to Have Cognitive Issues” Lead Author; Theodore Iwashyna, M.D., Phd; Date:10/26/10; Viewed:9/26/15; http://www.oufmhealth.org/news