According to the National Instititute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) sepsis is a disease that affects millions of Americans every year. Between 28 to 50 per cent of these people affected by sepsis die from septic shock; "far more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined" (NIGMS).
What makes sepsis such a deadly and pervasive disease? Many of the symptoms indicative of sepsis; which is, in simple terms, an infection, mimick the symptoms of other, less serious conditions. "Some of these symptoms include "fever, chills, rapid heart-rate, rash, confusion, and disorientation. Many of these symptoms, such as fever and difficulty breathing, mimic other conditions," (NIGMS). Sepsis occurs often in the intensive care unit and is a leading cause of re-admission into the hospital. It can spread quickly and become an infection affecting the entire body and causing multiple organ failure.
It is the job of the doctors and hospital staff to follow checks and more checks in order to make sure that every patient receives a high level of care. Mistakes are made when systems that should keep patients safe are not followed, or the hospital never puts a patient safety system in place. You can't count on corporate hospitals to do the right thing for patients these days. That's why it is important to be your own advocate when receiving care from hospitals and recovery centers.
It is always a good idea to do the research on your procedure before going into any hospital environment so you are not solely relying on your caregivers to provide the expectations for how things should go. It is also a good idea to bring with you a loved one who is also familiar with the procedure or illness you are experiencing so that he or she can advocate for you in the event you are incapacitated. Post-surgical and intensive care patients are at higher risk for sepsis, so becoming familiar with the symptoms will help you to quickly identify when something might be wrong.
The good news is that finding a cure for sepsis seems to be a high priority in the medical community. According to the National Public Radio (NRP) one doctor has discovered that an infusion of corticose steriods and vitamins has proven effective in treating patients with sepsis; even patients who seemed too far gone to recover. This treatment has not completed the typical rigorous clinical trial it takes to get a methodology approved, but the study is well underway.
In the meantime, being your own advocate always helps. For tips on being a patient advocate and avoiding medical malpractice, order your free copy of 7 Symptoms of Medical Malpractice: How You Can Recognize, Stop and Avoid Medical Mistakes.
We'v represented people who were severely injured because a hospital in D.C., Maryland or Virginia did not diagnose and treat sepsis.
If sepsis caused a catastrophic injury or death in a hospital, call us at 202-393-3320 for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation.