Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

60 W. Randolph Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

5 Convenient Locations - Available 24/7 - We can travel to you
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in infection

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.

...

Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysAs with hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare facilities which treat a large number of patients per day, one of the biggest concerns for nursing home residents is the risk of infection. Many nursing home residents already have weakened immune systems due to other health issues, so a bacterial infection can quickly become an immediate medical emergency. Frequently occurring infections or infections which are not property treated can be a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse.

Frequent Infections Could Be a Sign Your Loved One is Not Receiving Proper Care

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, the most frequent type of infection occurring in nursing homes is skin infection. Pressure ulcers or bedsores are a major issue for many nursing home residents. When an able-bodied person lays in a bed or sits in a chair, they are able to frequently shift their weight and avoid putting extensive pressure on certain body parts. However, a person with limited mobility cannot make such adjustments. Nursing home staff have an obligation to help residents avoid bedsores by frequently repositioning them. When bedsores are not treated, several life-threatening conditions can occur including cellulitis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and even sepsis. 

Untreated Urinary Tract Infections Can Be Extremely Dangerous for Sick and Elderly

Another common cause of infection in nursing homes is the use of urinary catheters. Nursing home residents frequently have medical conditions which make it nearly impossible for them to use the bathroom. In some situations, a catheter is required to help a resident relieve themselves. Unfortunately, the use of urinary catheters greatly increases the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract and causing a bladder or kidney infection.

...

Illinois nursing home neglect attorneysNursing homes and hospitals are the places designed to care for the frail, sick, and elderly. Unfortunately, these places are also often hotbeds of infection. Sepsis infection, a particularly dangerous and often deadly condition, plagues nursing homes across the United States. When a nursing home resident develops sepsis, it is critical that they receive prompt and competent medical treatment. Tragically, many nursing homes do not give residents the medical care and compassion they need and deserve. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure to educate yourself about this deadly condition.

Causes and Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis, also called septicemia, is a life-threatening condition that arises from the body’s response to an infection. When a person experiences an infection, their body sometimes responds by releasing certain chemicals into their bloodstream to fight off the infection. These chemicals can cause inflammatory responses which do substantial damage to the infected person’s bodily tissues and vital organs. If sepsis is not treated in time, septic shock, a condition in which the infected person’s blood pressure drops to fatally low levels, can develop. Septic shock usually leads to death. Symptoms of sepsis include a change in mental status, extremely low blood pressure, high respiratory rate, and high levels of lactic acid in the blood.

Proposed Illinois Bill Would Punish Dangerously Understaffed Nursing Homes

An investigation conducted by Kaiser Health News and the Chicago Tribune found that approximately 6,000 nursing home residents hospitalized in Illinois each year have sepsis. On average, one out of every five residents hospitalized for a sepsis infection pass away. Sepsis often develops in individuals who are bedridden as well as those with urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and other infections.

...

Illinois nursing home injury attorneyWinter is the time of year when everyone should be frequently washing their hands and being extra careful to avoid illness. Unfortunately, nursing home residents do not always have the ability or resources to keep their bodies healthy and free of disease. The National Institute of Health estimates that 2 million infections occur in nursing homes every year. Although some of these infections are not preventable, others are a direct cause of negligent nursing home staff. Infections can rapidly worsen if they are not properly treated by a medical professional. If you or someone you love one has developed an illness after experiencing an infection in a nursing home, it is important to understand your available options.

Infections Common in Illinois Nursing Homes Residents

Nursing home residents are often elderly or have compromised immune systems due to illness. This is why it is critical that nursing home staff treat infections as soon as possible to prevent them from worsening. The most common nursing home infections include:

  • Urinary tract infections;
  • Respiratory tract infections;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Clostridium difficile infections (CDI);
  • Influenza;
  • Sepsis;
  • Gastrointestinal infections; and
  • Soft tissue and skin infections.

When Is the Nursing Home Liable for Infections?

Elderly, disabled, and sick individuals are already at an increased risk of infection. Not every resident in a long-term care facility like a nursing home or assisted living facility who gets an infection does so because of negligence. However, nursing home negligence and abuse can certainly cause an increased risk of infection and illness. Some infections can even be fatal.

...

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.

...

Chicago nursing home neglect attorneysInadequate hygiene in nursing homes can be deadly to vulnerable residents. Poor hygiene is often the consequence of ineffectively trained staff members or facilities that have too high a resident to staff ratio. Other times, poor hygiene can be the result of staff who are not properly educated about safe health care practices.

Not Using Proper Hygiene Is Neglect

Elderly individuals or those with physical or mental disabilities in a nursing home deserve to be kept safe and clean. Some residents are not physically capable of doing hygiene tasks on their own while others have cognitive impairments which makes it hard for them to remember hygiene. Sadly, reports of nursing home residents left in soiled clothes, diapers, or beds are not uncommon. Nursing home residents deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and this includes cleanliness. Unsanitary conditions can increase the risk of infection, illness, and other medical conditions.

Staff May Take Unsafe Shortcuts When It Comes to Their Own Hygiene

When nursing home staff are not properly educated about caretaker hygiene, the results can be deadly. A staff member who does not wash his or her hands after helping a resident with bathroom-related tasks and then interacts with another resident can spread dangerous bacteria to the second resident. Most residents have compromised immune systems due to illness, injury, or old age and are especially susceptible to germs. When staff are not regularly cleaning common areas, kitchens, or bathrooms, the facility becomes a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria and viruses. This places residents in further unnecessary risk.

...
Back to Top