Septic Shock is a Life-Threatening Medical Condition.

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What is Septic Shock?

What is Septic Shock?

Septic shock is a serious medical condition that can sometimes be fatal.

Muhammad Ali died of septic shock, and the condition is a fairly common one, though it can be avoided. It is a body-wide infection, which can start out as a virus or bacteria, that spreads to the rest of the body and causes abnormally low blood pressure. Septic shock occurs most often in those who have weakened immune systems. It is often accompanied by reduced blood pressure and flow throughout the body and can result in a loss of limbs or death.  

Still, septic shock doesn't have to be fatal if caught early and treated. 

People who have been hospitalized for extended periods of time are at a potentially high risk of developing severe sepsis or septic shock.  If you're in the hospital for an extended period of time, take care to read on for tips.

Risk Factors for Septic Shock:

Diabetes, recent surgery or medical procedures, leukemia, lymphoma, and/or recent infections.


Shortness of breath, cool, pale arms and legs, high or very low temperature, light-headedness, little or no urine, low blood pressure, etc.

Treating septic shock and its symptoms, may prove difficult but are not impossible. 

Since septic shock is a medical emergency; patients might be taken to the ICU for treatment. Depending on what caused the sepsis, patient may be treated differently. Treatment could include but is not limited to oxygen therapy and increasing blood flow by using inotropic medicines and vasopressors (like dobutamine and sopamine). 

You may be on antibiotics if your doctor determines this is the right course for you. You may need surgery. All in all, if the problem is diagnosed early, then treatment is more likely to succeed.

How is septic shock prevented and treated?

Early diagnosis and intervention by hospital heathcare providers is critical.

If doctors ignore the signs and symptoms of infection, it can lead to sepsis and septic shock even if the patient is already hospitalized.  Sometimes this means the primary doctor or hospitalist did not consult with an infectious disease specialist or did not review the lab results that showed signs of infection.

When we see a case of medical malpractice because a patient developed septic shock that led to death or loss of limbs, it is most likely due to the doctors and nurses not recognizing the signs and symptoms of septic shock or infection and not starting treatment.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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