7 Signs of Sepsis You Should Never Ignore

Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition that arises when the body’s response to infection becomes dysregulated. The type of infection can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. It may originate in various parts of the body, such as the lungs, urinary tract, or abdomen. Called “the silent killer,” sepsis can progress rapidly, leading to severe complications or even death if not treated promptly. 

Even in relatively mild cases, sepsis is a life-threatening condition that requires prompt medical intervention. This blog will explore the signs of sepsis, its potential causes, and when to seek the expertise of a sepsis malpractice lawyer like MattLaw. We’re here to help protect your health—and your legal rights.

Do you believe you have suffered from medical negligence or oversight stemming from a sepsis diagnosis? Contact the sepsis lawyers at Mattlaw for your free case evaluation: 813-222-2222.

7 Signs Sepsis You Should Never Ignore

Sepsis can present mildly—but worsen quickly. Medical professionals are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of developing sepsis for early intervention. While symptoms of sepsis will vary, the following conditions are common indicators of septic infection:

  1. Body Temperature Changes. Sepsis can cause a sudden spike in body temperature (fever) or a drop in temperature (hypothermia). Monitoring changes in body temperature is essential, as it can be an early sign of sepsis.
  2. Decreased Urine Output. Sepsis can impair kidney function; this can lead to decreased urine output, even after proper hydration. Monitoring changes in urinary habits will help you identify potential kidney issues stemming from sepsis.
  3. Rapid Heart Rate or Breathing. The body responds to infection by increasing the heart rate to pump more blood to affected areas. During a septic infection, this response can become exaggerated, resulting in a dangerously rapid respiratory rate. Breathing may also intensify as the body attempts to compensate for low oxygen levels.
  4. Skin Changes. Sepsis can cause mottled, pallid, or discolored skin, which indicates poor blood flow and tissue perfusion. Cool, clammy skin is another potential sign of sepsis.
  5. Mental Confusion. Severe cases of sepsis affect the brain, resulting in confusion, disorientation, mood swings, and/or lethargy. These symptoms are critical indicators of a severe septic condition, and the sufferer should seek medical help immediately.
  6. Low Blood Pressure. Sepsis can cause a drop in blood pressure, which can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly. Low blood pressure can result in inadequate blood flow to vital organs, contributing to organ failure. See a doctor immediately if you believe you have a septic infection.
  7. Severe Pain/Discomfort. Finally, sepsis can sometimes cause intense pain or discomfort at the source of the infection. The patient may notice extreme tenderness, and/or swelling, numbness or discoloration. If you are experiencing severe pain at the site of an infection, seek medical help immediately.

“What are the symptoms of severe sepsis?”

Septic shock is the final and most severe stage of septic infection. Itoccurs when your immune system develops an extreme reaction to infection. Septic shock may result in cognitive changes, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and extremely low blood pressure. If you are experiencing septic shock, go to the emergency room immediately.

“When should I seek medical attention if I believe I have sepsis?”

Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune response to an infection triggers an overwhelming inflammatory reaction throughout the body. This inflammation can lead to septic shock, organ failure, or even death. Sepsis is a medical emergency, and timely intervention is essential to prevent the condition from progressing to severe stages.

If you or a loved one experiences any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Your condition may worsen the longer you delay.

“I had sepsis as a child. Does it have any lifelong effects?”

Tragically, yes. According to the Sepsis Alliance, “more than 1 in 3 children (34%) who survive experience a change in cognitive skills … at 28 days following their discharge from the hospital. Nearly half return to the hospital at least once after surviving sepsis.” Furthermore, “immunocompromised children and children who [require] longer hospital stays are less likely to return to their previous quality of life after hospitalization than other children hospitalized for sepsis.”

Adult sepsis survivors experience a higher risk of reinfection, cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease, and death after suffering sepsis. According to a 2016 article titled Understanding Long-Term Outcomes Following Sepsis: Implications and Challenges, “In the first year following index sepsis episode, approximately 60% of sepsis survivors have at least one rehospitalization episode, which is most often due to infection. [One] in six sepsis survivors [dies].”

When to Call a Sepsis Lawyer?

The long-term effects of sepsis can be just as devastating as the condition itself. Missed or mistreated sepsis infections result in thousands of medical malpractice claims every year. 

Doctors have a duty to look after your medical needs while you are entrusted to their care. This means treating bacterial infections as early and thoroughly as possible. People with sepsis may experience weakened immune systems, blood clots, amputations, chronic muscle weakness, respiratory difficulties, chronic fatigue, kidney damage, and cognitive changes including memory loss, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.

After you receive medical intervention, seek legal advice to evaluate your claim and outline your options for financial recovery. If your sepsis was mistreated, resulting in additional medical complications, consult with a sepsis lawyer as soon as possible. The medical malpractice lawyers at Mattlaw are always here to help.

5 Medical Scenarios That Require a Sepsis Lawyer

If you have been diagnosed with sepsis—or believe you should have been—speak to a medical malpractice attorney. Here are some scenarios that may require a personal injury lawsuit:

  1. Inadequate Treatment. This is perhaps the most common medical mistake resulting in complications from sepsis. Sepsis requires timely treatments to fight the source of the infection, including antibiotics, to prevent the infection from spreading. If your doctor fails to administer appropriate treatments or follow your treatment plan, you may consider legal intervention.
  2. Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis. Sepsis requires prompt diagnosis and intervention. If your doctor didn’t catch your sepsis in time, or gave you the wrong diagnosis, your condition may have worsened as a result. A sepsis lawyer can determine if medical negligence or malpractice played a role in your declining health.
  3. Hospital-Acquired Infections. In some cases, sepsis may arise from hospital-acquired infections, particularly in vulnerable patients with compromised immune systems. If your hospital environment contributed to your septic infection, a sepsis lawyer may be necessary to recover financial damages related to it.
  4. Failure to Obtain Informed Consent. Patients have the right to be informed about the risks and benefits of medical treatments. If your doctor failed to obtain informed consent before initiating treatment, you may have grounds for legal action.
  5. Wrongful Death. When sepsis leads to the death of a loved one, surviving family members may want to consult a sepsis malpractice lawyer. Wrongful death claims can help seek compensation for damages and hold responsible parties accountable.

If you have experienced complications related to sepsis, call the sepsis malpractice lawyers at Mattlaw for a free, fast claim evaluation: 813-222-2222. We’ll explain your rights, explore your options, and put you on the path to recovery.

Matt Powell

About Matt

Matt Powell is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar who represents injured victims and their families. He is an experienced personal injury trial attorney who has been practicing since 1989 in Tampa, Florida. If you have any questions, feel free to call him at 813-222-2222 today.

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