Most everyone has heard stories of residents in nursing homes developing bed sores from the staff not turning them appropriately or residents falling and breaking their hip, leg or sustaining a concussion. While these injuries are serious and should not happen with proper care, there is one injury that occurs in nursing homes that our office has seen rise dramatically in recent years, it's sepsis.
What Is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a very serious condition that occurs when our bodies over-react to an infection. The body's immune system essentially goes into overdrive in order to fight an existing infection. The immune system causes inflammation in the body rather than only fighting the infection. This results in a serious life-threatening condition. The CDC reports over 1.5 million cases of sepsis each year and this number is rising. The death toll each year is over 250,000. The elderly comprise a large portion of these deaths.
Infections and Sepsis are Common in Nursing Homes and Care Facilities
For many residents of nursing homes in Kentucky and throughout the nation, infections are common. This is largely due to an already weakened immune system and all too common less than sanitary living conditions in many of the nursing homes. A simple urinary tract infection (UTI) that is not properly treated can lead to sepsis and even septic shock. This is what it is so important that nursing home staff nurses and nursing aids pay close attention to all such infections in the nursing home. The cases our office has handled (totaling millions of dollars) for nursing home residents being injured and even dying from sepsis are largely the result of the staff not properly treating UTI’s or other infections and then not recognizing the signs and symptoms of sepsis that developed as a result of their negligence care.
Nursing homes that are short-staffed are especially vulnerable to having their residents develop sepsis as a result of their inability to properly monitor their residents for the signs and symptoms of sepsis. With proper training and adequate staff, it is entirely possible to properly care for residents to prevent sepsis and/or recognize it in enough time to provide proper medical care. Unfortunately, our office review many death certificates that list sepsis and/or septic shock as a cause of death that could have been prevented.
Watch for These Signs of Sepsis in Your Loved One
Signs and symptoms of sepsis include the following:
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Altered mental status
How is Sepsis Treated?
- IV to maintain adequate blood flow to organs
- Treatment of source of infection (an example would be removing infected skin and/or an abscess if possible)
If You Suspect Sepsis, Speak to Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Today
It is important to note that time is of the essence in recognizing and treating sepsis. Left untreated, sepsis can be very difficult to fight in the elderly.
If you believe a loved one was neglected or abused in a Kentucky nursing home or long-term care facility, please contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION. Gray & White Law has successfully handled nursing home cases across Kentucky for over two decades.