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Septic Shock Death In Nursing Homes

If you have placed your loved one in the care of a nursing home, you expect that they will receive the necessary care to keep them as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not provide adequate care and may be guilty of abuse and neglect in some instances.

According to The Mayo Clinic, patients that advance to septic shock have a 40 percent mortality rate. If you lost a loved one due to septic shock, it could have been due to abuse or neglect at a nursing home.

What Is Septic Shock?

Sepsis is a body’s immune response to an infection. It can result from a shallow cut or bedsore or an internal infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) or appendicitis.

If treatment is not received, sepsis can worsen quickly and lead to death. Organ failure may occur, blood pressure drops dangerously low, weakening the heart, and a patient can develop septic shock. Organ failure can cascade quickly, causing lung, kidney, and liver failure.

According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the causes of sepsis include bacterial infections, viral infections, or traumatic injuries. As the body responds, immune protein mediators are released, triggering inflammation, leaky blood vessels, and blood clots. The disruption to blood flow means organs don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients to sustain them.

Why Septic Shock Is a Concern in Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents have different degrees of health problems brought on by aging. In a nursing home setting, these can increase the possibility of sepsis. Some of the risk factors for residents include:

  • Previous disorders (kidney disease, heart conditions)
  • Muscle atrophy from inactivity
  • Malnutrition
  • Prescription medications
  • Gastrointestinal imbalances
  • Pathophysiology (normal aging)
  • Lower T-cell activity
  • Reduced recognition of infected cells in the body

If symptoms are not recognized early, sepsis can quickly lead to septic shock.

How to Minimize the Risks of Septic Shock Death

Better hospital-based care is the only effective mediator in sepsis cases. Awareness of early symptoms in nursing home patients and referring them for hospital care before the septic shock occurs is helpful in some cases.

Symptoms to Watch for in Your Loved One

Taking a proactive role in caring for your loved one is essential to avoid nursing home abuse or neglect. It can also help you identify early warning signs that staff may ignore or not notice.

According to NIGMS, common symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Rapid heart rate and breathing
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Clammy skin
  • Unexplained rash or pale skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased urine output

If you notice any signs of possible sepsis, address them with staff immediately. We recommend keeping a notebook with dates, times, and names of personnel you speak with regarding neglectful or abusive care.

Septic Shock Death May Result From Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Sepsis is sometimes the result of inadequate care at a nursing facility. Some signs that your loved one’s sepsis may be related to nursing home negligence include:

  • Unclean restroom facilities
  • Dirty kitchens and dining areas
  • Messy common areas
  • Dirty bed linens
  • Laundry that isn’t cleaned regularly or properly
  • Not bathing patients regularly
  • Low staffing levels
  • No hot water
  • Staff ignoring or minimizing complaints from patients or family
  • Slow response to emergencies

If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, report it to the nursing home administration and take steps to remove your loved one from danger. You may move them to a different facility. You can also explore your legal options for recovering compensation that can help you care for your loved one.

Diagnosing Septic Shock

To receive a diagnosis of septic shock, a noted blood pressure drop and other symptoms will be present. Blood tests may reveal abnormal blood count readings and the presence of bacteria. Suppose the infection is suspected to be pneumonia. In that case, a chest x-ray may help locate the origin of the sepsis.

Because many of the symptoms of septic shock may overlap with other problems, including organ failure. Blood samples may be withdrawn from two locations to pinpoint the infection. Doctors may also use urine tests, wound seepage, and lung secretions. Doctors may sometimes request CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds to pinpoint an infection.

Alarming Statistics about Septic Shock Death

Anyone can get sepsis, but some people are more susceptible than others. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 1.7 million adults develop sepsis yearly. Sepsis-related deaths number almost 270,000. Although sepsis begins outside a hospital environment in 87 percent of cases, one in three patient deaths in a hospital is sepsis-related.

Our Attorneys Can Help if You Lost Your Loved One to Septic Shock in a Nursing Home

If you suspect nursing home abuse and neglect played a role in your loved one’s septic shock, an attorney from Brown & Barron can help.

You can discuss your legal options for compensation during a free case evaluation. Our nursing home abuse and neglect team can fight for justice and help you honor your loved one’s memory. You and your family deserve to grieve in peace. You can leave the legal work to us. Call us today!

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