Sepsis in Nursing Homes

Sepsis is a potentially deadly condition triggered when the immune system works overtime to fight off a serious bacterial or fungal infection. It also happens to be a powerful indicator of nursing home abuse and neglect. Negligent nursing home workers put elderly residents at risk for sepsis when they fail to prevent and treat common infections such as bedsores, cuts and urinary tract infections. If someone you love contracted sepsis or was put at risk of contracting sepsis while in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation in a nursing home negligence or abuse lawsuit.

Sepsis occurs when the body overreacts to infection-fighting chemicals released into the bloodstream, prompting an exaggerated inflammatory response with the potential to cause blood clots, cut off the oxygen supply to vital organs, and send the victim into life-threatening septic shock. If not successfully treated, sepsis can lead to organ failure, severe disability and death. People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly, very young children and those with autoimmune diseases are especially vulnerable to the effects of sepsis. It’s estimated that 750,000 people are likely to develop sepsis each year, according to The National Institutes of Health. Many of these at-risk individuals are nursing home patients.

Sepsis patients have the best chance for recovery when the condition is treated early with antibiotics and close monitoring in an intensive care unit. Advanced cases may require a variety of other medications and even surgery, dialysis or other aggressive measures. However, even with advanced treatment, it’s estimated that up to half of all patients treated for sepsis will not survive. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs of sepsis. Common symptoms of sepsis infection may include:

  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Fever, chills and/or shaking
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Rash, swelling or discolored skin
  • Unexplained joint pain

When a loved one contracts sepsis in a nursing home

Watching a loved suffer from a debilitating illness is difficult enough, but it’s especially painful when you know that their condition could have been prevented or alleviated with proper care. Nursing home staff members have a responsibility to properly supervise and care for elderly patients. This includes monitoring catheters and IV lines, regularly turning patients who are unable to reposition themselves in order to prevent bedsores from developing, and quickly treating any wounds or exposed areas that could make a patient susceptible to sepsis.

Signs of improper nursing home care that could predispose patients to sepsis include:

  • Untreated bedsores or cuts
  • Unwashed linen or clothing
  • Unclean facility areas, such as bathrooms and activity rooms
  • Inattentive staff
  • Complaints of neglect

Nursing homes that are understaffed, undertrained or otherwise poorly managed may fail to prevent and treat serious infections such as sepsis, contributing to the illness or death of patients. There is no excuse for carelessness or wrongdoing that leads to the disability or death of a loved one from an avoidable condition like sepsis. If an elderly family member has suffered nursing home neglect and/or a resulting sepsis infection, you deserve answers – and justice. The Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys at Phillips Law Offices are committed to helping sepsis victims and their families obtain fair financial compensation and hold responsible parties accountable for harm suffered.

Having an elderly loved one contract sepsis puts tremendous stress on families, both financially and emotionally. Our personal injury attorneys have more than six decades of experience successfully representing injured people and their loved ones in nursing home litigation, including sepsis lawsuits. We have the knowledge and resources to meticulously investigate nursing home practices and vigorously pursue compensation for the expenses, pain and suffering caused by sepsis. Let us defend the legal rights of your loved one and help you achieve the recovery and justice to which you are entitled. Contact our nursing home abuse lawyers today at (312) 346-4262 or online for your free legal consultation.