Sepsis declared a medical emergency by the CDC
Federal health officials are calling on health care providers to do more to prevent, recognize, and treat sepsis before it leads to life-threatening illness or death
According to a report published by the Center for Disease Control, 7 out of 10 people with sepsis had recently been to a healthcare provider, or had chronic diseases that required frequent medical care – both of which would have been opportunities for doctors and nurses to catch it early or prevent it all together.
Healthcare providers struggle to identify the illness early, as there is no specific diagnostic test for sepsis. Prevention and early detection is key.
By definition, sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s response to infection. If left untreated, it can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and even death. It is difficult to diagnose and can progress very quickly in affected patients. Time is crucial when it comes to treating the disease, and can be the difference between life and death for many.
“When sepsis occurs, it should be treated as a medical emergency,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a press release. “Doctors and nurses can prevent sepsis and also the devastating effects of sepsis, and patients and families can watch for sepsis and ask, ‘could this be sepsis?’”
According to the CDC, more than 258,000 Americans die of the condition annually, more than the number of deaths from heart attack.
Sepsis occurs most often in people 65 years or older who have a weakened immune system, or are predisposed to the disease because of a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes.
The CDC has a few suggestions for health care providers, including Nursing Homes:
- Prevent infections. Follow infection control requirements (e.g., hand hygiene) and ensure patients receive recommended vaccines (e.g., flu and pneumococcal).
- Educate patients and their families. Stress the need to prevent infections, manage chronic conditions, and seek care if signs of severe infection or sepsis are present.
- Think sepsis. Know sepsis signs and symptoms to identify and treat patients early.
- Act fast. If sepsis is suspected, order tests to determine if an infection is present, where it is, and what caused it. Start antibiotics and other medical care immediately. Document antibiotic dose, duration, and purpose.
- Reassess patient management. Check patient progress frequently. Reassess antibiotic therapy 24-48 hours or sooner to change therapy as needed. Be sure the antibiotic type, dose, and duration are correct.
How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you have a loved one who was a resident in a nursing home and died from sepsis, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified Texas nursing home attorney as soon as possible.
Here at The Carlson Law Firm we have team of attorneys who are experienced in the complex world of nursing home litigation who are ready to assist you. Contact any one of our offices for a free case evaluation. We care, we can help.
- Written by Jill Fowler