When you feel ill, you seek help from a hospital and hope it can provide you with care and improve your condition. You do not expect to face a sepsis complication that causes life-threatening health issues and requires emergency care.
Sepsis is serious and, in many cases, deadly. If you are a patient that develops sepsis during or after a stay at a hospital, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice. Sepsis can arise in certain instances due to medical negligence of the care team responsible for your care.
When you develop sepsis because of a failure by a medical provider or facility such as a hospital, you may seek compensation for your resulting damages under the law.
A medical malpractice lawyer can prepare, file, and negotiate a medical malpractice claim for you and seek the best resolution possible.
What Is Sepsis?
An individual that develops sepsis is battling an infection that causes the body to experience life-threatening symptoms. In most instances, sepsis occurs in cases of bacterial infections. However, certain viruses can also lead to this complication. Sepsis can cause an individual’s body to begin to break down and vital functions to deteriorate or cease working due to the body’s overwhelming response to the infection it is fighting.
The Prevalence of Sepsis in Hospitals Across the U.S.
The CDC estimates that during one year in the U.S., over 1.7 million people will get sepsis, and 350,000 people that develop sepsis will die due to the condition. Hospitalizations for other conditions or illnesses can also affect the risk of a sepsis diagnosis.
Infections contracted during a hospital stay, also known as health care acquired infections, can lead to a higher risk of sepsis developing during or after the release from the healthcare facility.
Due to this increased risk, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must take great care to prevent infections from spreading within their locations and to monitor patients closely to ensure symptoms indicating possible sepsis are not developing.
If a patient acquires an infection at the hospital and then develops sepsis or sepsis after seeking treatment for an illness or concerning symptoms from the hospital, they may be eligible for compensation if the actions of the hospital or providers are negligent.
When Might Sepsis Occur Due to Negligence During a Hospital Stay?
Sepsis occurs because of an infection. When a person comes to a hospital for care, they may seek treatment for an existing infection, or they may initially come in for the care of an unrelated condition, and there is no infection present during admission.
Rampant infections in hospitals, however, and are a leading cause of complications and death among patients. For example, the CDC reports that over 680,000 patients will acquire an infection in a hospital setting in one year. Of those patients, over 70,000 will die during their hospital stay due to the acquired infection.
A shocking study by Johns Hopkins reveals that approximately 10 percent of deaths nationwide occur due to a medical mistake. Medical errors threaten patients’ lives every day, and sepsis is a common condition that can occur when a doctor or facility fails to provide the quality of care a patient deserves.
Examples of scenarios where sepsis may develop due to medical negligence:
- Failure to identify an underlying infection
- Failure to identify the warning signs of developing sepsis
- Improper medication to treat the patient
- Inadequate hygiene and sterilization protocols for the hospital and staff
- Failure to properly follow up or provide care after surgery or other procedure
- Failure to properly treat, inspect, and care for wounds or bedsores
Filing a Hospital Related Medical Malpractice Claim
If you suffer the development of sepsis, you can require a long hospital stay and intensive care. Those who survive sepsis may suffer long-term residual effects and have a much higher risk of a recurring sepsis diagnosis with a subsequent infection. As a victim of sepsis, you may have grounds to seek compensation through a medical malpractice claim for damages.
Filing a medical malpractice claim with a medical malpractice insurer, however, is not an easy undertaking. There are many hurdles to overcome when filing a claim based on malpractice. There may be requirements to report the incident or notify of your intent to file a malpractice claim to file a claim for compensation with the insurer. To protect your right to file a claim as a victim of medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice lawyer.
Will the Insurance Company Pay for My Damages After a Sepsis Diagnosis?
Medical malpractice insurance is in place to protect innocent victims of medical errors that cause them injury, illness, or harm because of the negligence of a healthcare provider. Although the purpose of medical malpractice insurance is to compensate a victim for certain losses, it is not an easy process and is definitely not a process you want to go through without the help of an attorney.
Insurance companies can make it challenging for a victim of medical malpractice to get approval on a claim or to reach a fair settlement that fairly reflects your actual damages after suffering from sepsis due to negligence while in a hospital.
Possible Damages in a Sepsis Medical Malpractice Case
The amount of money you may get as part of a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit can depend on the statutes in your state. Some states have strict guidelines regarding what a medical malpractice victim can receive in terms of compensation for the damages they incur.
Additionally, medical malpractice claims can also be subject to caps depending on the jurisdiction you are in. These laws, however, vary from one state to another. In contrast, some states, like Illinois, do not impose any restrictions on the damages a victim of sepsis can seek or the damages they may pursue for their losses.
Damages you may receive in a case of medical negligence causing sepsis include:
- Medical costs
- Income losses
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Should You Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney for Your Sepsis Case?
Yes, you should. The seriousness of the condition combined with the intensive and life-saving measures most commonly necessary to treat a patient can result in significant medical bills and other damages in the aftermath that can have a detrimental impact on your life.