One in three hospital deaths in the United States is due to sepsis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Yet, it is probably not something that crosses your mind when you think about ways to die.
What is sepsis?
Many people know sepsis as blood poisoning. If you develop an infection, your body releases chemicals into the body to fight it. Sometimes the body reacts badly, and the chemicals cause inflammation in parts of the body. It can prevent blood flowing to the organs, leading them to shut down. If the blood pressure drops too much, septic shock can happen, which can kill you.
Sepsis can happen naturally; one recent study suggests 90% of cases are not preventable. It can also occur due to the negligence of medical professionals:
- Lack of cleanliness: Perhaps surgical instruments used were not adequately sterilized, the hospital was not clean, or the nurse did not clean the wound thoroughly.
- Failure to notice a pre-existing infection: If doctors diagnose the primary infection and treat it, then the body does not need to take such an extreme reaction. Pneumonia is one of the most common diseases to cause sepsis.
- Failure to recognize sepsis: If medics notice a patient has sepsis early enough, they can try to treat it and stop its spread.
Sepsis, even if treated, can make it more likely that a patient has to return to the hospital. If you have had a loved one die from sepsis, you may consider seeking compensation if you believe there is evidence of medical malpractice.