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Understanding Sepsis and the Causes of Sepsis

Posted by attorney Thomas Greer

Sepsis occurs when a severe infection spreads to a person's blood stream. People become "septic" when their immune response to the infection triggers widespread inflammation. In extreme cases of sepsis, the patient's blood pressure can drop to life-threatening levels, often damaging major organs, such as the kidneys and liver. Understanding the signs and symptoms of sepsis is the key to early diagnosis. The cause of sepsis is a bacterial infection in a particular area of the body that gets worse over time and eventually spreads to the person's blood. Sepsis in nursing home patients often result from preventable infections due to bed sores, IV lines, and urinary catheters. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that bedsores should never occur. So if your loved one develops sepsis from a bedsore, contact an attorney immediately. The symptoms of sepsis can vary depending on the nature of the original bacterial infection. Some common symptoms may include the following:

  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rapid pulse
  • decreased urination.

Quickly diagnosing sepsis is the key to treating it. Misdiagnosing sepsis will delay treatment and will often times lessen a person's chance for survival. Once sepsis has been diagnosed, treatment options typically include broad spectrum antibiotics, IV fluids, and oxygen.

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