Sepsis is an immune response to bacterial infections in the bloodstream. The inflammation that this response triggers can be very harmful, causing tissue damage, organ malfunction, and even death.
Sepsis occurs most commonly in hospitals. While the issue is sometimes unavoidable, the risk of its development increases in facilities with improper hygiene procedures. Failure of medical staff to diagnose sepsis in a timely fashion also hinders recovery.
If you’ve contracted sepsis and you think negligent healthcare practices may have been a factor, it’s worth learning more about the legal implications of your situation. You can consult us to learn more about it.
What Is Sepsis?
When an infection enters the body, your immune system produces an inflammatory response. This is a vital immune function that protects us from many dangers.
However, this reaction can sometimes be too extreme, causing health issues of its own. Sepsis is an excessive immune response that can damage vital organs, including the brain, liver, and kidneys.
The immediate symptoms of sepsis include;
- Slurred speech
- Confusion or brain fog
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain, stiffness, or cramping in muscles
Sepsis is more common in those over the age of 65 or under the age of 1, as well as pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions. It is also more dangerous for people in these categories than for the average person.
Sepsis can lead to septic shock, during which blood pressure drops sharply. Septic shock is frequently fatal.
Sepsis Risk Factors in Healthcare Facilities
Sepsis is quite common in medical facilities, so the development of sepsis does not indicate medical negligence by itself. However, if medical practitioners fail to adhere to certain hygiene standards, the risk of sepsis increases dramatically.
The most important of these standards are;
- Regular and thorough sterilization of medical implements
- Regular hand washing and replacement of surgical gloves by doctors and nurses
- Proper wound treatment
- Separation of high-risk and infectious patients
Failure to comply with one or more of these practices may result in the healthcare facility being held liable if you contract sepsis.
Like many other conditions, early detection and intervention are crucial when it comes to managing sepsis. Doctors should administer antibiotics and intravenous fluids as soon as the condition becomes apparent. If you didn’t receive treatment as early as you could have due to a negligent oversight, you may be entitled to compensation.
The Legal Implications of a Sepsis Diagnosis
The standard for medical negligence in Ireland is twofold. In order to succeed in a claim, you will have to show that;
- The care you received was not of an acceptable standard, and
- This substandard care resulted in damage to your health.
In sepsis cases, hygiene standards will usually be the most important factor when deciding whether the care you received was negligent. Unreasonable delay after the initial development of sepsis may also be relevant. If either of these worsened your health outcomes, you may have a cause of action for compensation.
Protecting Your Interests After a Sepsis Diagnosis
You should be aware that there are time limits on medical negligence claims. If you don’t take action soon enough after your diagnosis, you may not be allowed to pursue a case. Get in contact to arrange a consultation with one of our medical negligence specialists, Emmet Halley, Richard Halley, or Anne McGuire.
In all cases, consultation with a solicitor will be the only way to accurately assess your best course of action. We are based in the South East of Ireland.