The medical community has the ability to diagnose and treat the vast majority of infections. Failure to do so properly, however, may lead to a serious condition known as “sepsis.” If sepsis is not diagnosed quickly, the systemic infection may compromise bodily organs. If untreated for a prolonged period of time, sepsis may permanently damage vital organs, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain, a condition known as “septic shock”.
“Sepsis” is a severe illness caused by infection in the body. The infection leading to sepsis may begin from any site. Common sources include open wounds such as bedsores, surgical incisions or laceration, and internal injury such as a perforated bowel or bladder often occurring during surgery. Bacteria and viruses that get into the bloodstream cause sepsis to spread. If appropriate and timely measures are not taken to prevent the development of sepsis, a patient’s life may be at risk.
Once infection has developed, failing to timely treat known infections with aggressive and proper antibiotic therapy can result in an otherwise treatable infection developing into sepsis and/or septic shock. The patient and his or her healthcare providers should be on the lookout for the following symptoms as they can be signs of sepsis:
- Decreased urination
- Pain in the wrists, arms, elbows, back, knees and ankle joints
- Reddish color rash with dark spots on the skin
- Increased white blood cell count
One type of infection which can develop is “septic arthritis” which involves an infection in the body’s joint spaces like the knee joint. Septic arthritis occurs when bacteria enters the joint, sometimes as a result of surgical incisions. Symptoms of septic arthritis include sharp pain, joint swelling and fever. When symptoms of septic arthritis are present, it may be necessary to remove fluid from the joint space and send the fluid to the lab for culture. Because of the speed and severity of joint infections, it is often appropriate to put the patient on antibiotics even before the results of the fluid culture are known.
If you or someone you know has suffered injury on account of the failure to detect and treat an infection, contact a lawyer at Burnside Law Firm for a free consultation to learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim. The lawyers at Burnside Law Firm have a history of success in this type of case and are prepared to assist you.
To help us better understand your Personal Injury issue, please fill out our intake form.