According to new studies, Sepsis kills more than 250,000 Americans each year. That's roughly the same number of people that die because of hospital and medical errors, which are the third leading cause of death behind only heart disease and cancer. Yet Sepsis remains a vague and mostly unknown condition to patients.
Sepsis, which is essentially a body-wide reaction to infection, generally does not present overnight. It typically progresses over a period of time due to a deterioration in the patient's condition, and it is so deadly in part because it it often not recognized early by physicians, nurses and hospital attendants. New York took measures to improve patient care when it amended the Public Health Law to require hospitals to implement sepsis protocols in order to more aggressively identify and treat the condition at an early stage.
These early identification and treatment steps are critical because, according to recent reporting, for every hour that is delayed in prescribing antibiotics and implementing treatment, the odds of death increase by 4%. The signs of sepsis, including general signs of infection, shivering, fever, clammy skin, confusion or shortness of breath, are critical to early identification of the condition.
In our practice we commonly see sepsis in cases involving hospital negligence and nursing home negligence. Unfortunately, whether because of lack of staffing, apathy or simply insufficient education, we often see patients who are transferred from nursing homes to primary care facilities (hospitals) at a late stage where sepsis is already present. At this point the patient's condition often leads to death.
Early detection of symptoms of sepsis is critical, and as studies continue to highlight this dangerous condition we hope that it will continue to lead to improvements in patient care.
If you have questions about development of sepsis in the hospital or nursing home setting contact us today.