Schwartz Injury Law

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Chicago nursing home injury attorneysMost nursing home residents live in a care facility because they have mental and physical health problems that significantly decrease their ability to care for themselves. Residents may need assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, eating, and using the restroom, as well as help managing their medical conditions. Nursing home staff are expected to monitor residents’ health for signs of new or worsening medical conditions. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are dangerously understaffed and residents may not be as monitored as closely as they should be. One major concern for elderly and ill nursing home residents is a condition called sepsis.  

What Is Sepsis?

When a bacterium, virus, or other disease-causing pathogen enters an individual’s body, the body’s immune system immediately starts to attack the pathogen. The healthier a person’s immune system is, the more likely it is to fight off the pathogen before it can start spreading. However, when pathogens multiply faster than the immune system can fight them, an infection can develop. Some of the most common infections that nursing home residents suffer from include skin infections caused by wounds or bedsores, diabetic wound infections, vascular ulcers, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections.

When the immune system targets these infections, it releases certain chemicals into the bloodstream. These chemicals can sometimes cause tissues and organs to become severely inflamed. This condition is called sepsis. If sepsis is not treated properly and promptly, it can lead to death.

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysDid you know that nearly two million people develop sepsis in the United States each year? While the condition can be treated successfully, more than 250,000 deaths are attributed to sepsis annually. That is more than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, prostate cancer, and breast cancer combined!

Unfortunately, nursing home patients are considered to be at increased risk for sepsis compared to the average person. To understand why this is true, you must first understand a little more about the condition.

Sepsis Is Not an Infection

The first thing you should know about sepsis is that it is not an infection, nor is it a bacterium, virus, parasite, or any other type of pathogen. Instead, it is a response to an infection. Put simply, a person can only develop sepsis if he or she has some type of infection.

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Chicago nursing home neglect attorneysYou have probably heard about the condition known as sepsis. Sepsis refers to a particular type of complication that can arise from an infection in a person’s body. Unfortunately, the kinds of infections that are at risk for sepsis are all too common among patients in hospitals and nursing homes. When sepsis is not treated properly, it can cause a host of problems for the patient, including death. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to know as much as you can about this dangerous condition.

What Is Sepsis?

Also called septicemia, sepsis occurs when certain chemicals are released into the bloodstream to fight an infection and those chemicals cause inflammatory responses throughout a person’s body. The inflammation can then lead to a chain reaction of events that could cause damage to vital organs, eventually shutting them down. If sepsis continues without treatment, the patient’s blood pressure could drop dramatically—a condition known as septic shock. Septic shock can be quickly fatal.

Failure to Diagnose or Treat Sepsis

When a person is inpatient at a hospital or is a resident of a nursing home, he or she should be under appropriate supervision. This means that they are to be monitored regularly for any signs of an infection or sepsis. Those who have recently had surgery or who have open wounds are generally at the highest risk for infection. It is up to the nursing staff to test often for infections, especially among residents who are at risk.

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