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Missed sepsis can lead to death or serious injury

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It requires immediate medical attention to address the issues and prevent the possibilities of organ failure and tissue damage that can lead to severe health complications or death.

When a person has an untreated infection, or one that is resistant to antibiotics, they can develop sepsis. This condition often comes on quickly and worsens rapidly, so medical professionals must ensure they're vigilant in watching for signs of sepsis in patients who have infections.

Signs and symptoms of sepsis

There are many signs that signal sepsis, but it might be a challenge to diagnose because these symptoms mimic that of other conditions. The six primary signs of sepsis include:

  • Sweaty or clammy skin
  • High heart rate
  • Shivering, fever or feeling cold
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Discomfort or extreme pain
  • Shortness of breath

It's also possible that you'll have low blood pressure and signs of organ damage. If you're showing signs of sepsis, make sure that you let the medical care team know that you've recently had an infection. This might help them to know to evaluate you for sepsis.

Risk factors for sepsis

Almost any infection can lead to sepsis, but there are certain individuals who are at an increased risk of having this occur. These patients must be especially careful if they are showing any signs of sepsis and have had a recent infection.

  • Children younger than a year old
  • People with a chronic medical condition
  • Adults over 65 years old
  • Individuals with a weakened immune system

Treatments for sepsis

The exact treatment that a patient will need for sepsis depends on the severity of the condition and the way that it's impacting them. The underlying infection must be treated. This usually requires antibiotics. Doctors will also try to ensure that the body's organs are receiving adequate blood that's oxygenated. They might use ventilators and intravenous hydration to help.

When doctors miss a case of sepsis, the patient can die. In cases of negligence, the family members who are left behind might opt to take legal action. Even if the person survives, a lawsuit might be appropriate to recoup the financial damages that occurred because of the missed diagnosis. This can help to cover the additional medical care costs, missed wages and other expenses.

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