Post Operative Infection – Sepsis

Hospital errors can unfortunately occur at any stage in a patient’s stay. One area where many patients are the victims of doctor or hospital staff error is in the area of post operative infection or sepsis. Post-operative infection is a broad term which applies to several types of infections a patient can experience as a consequence of undergoing surgery. These infections can be caused by several sources including:

  • Failure to sterilize surgical site
  • Failure to administer pre-operative antibiotics
  • Failure to use sterile instruments during surgery

Despite efforts by hospitals and the government to decrease hospital post-operative infections, a 2010 study found that hospitals continue to see an increase in post-operative blood stream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

One type of post-operative infection is known as Sepsis or Septic Shock. Sepsis is a potentially deadly condition where an infection overwhelms a patient’s immune system. While there is no specific blood test, MRI, or similar test that can be performed to diagnose the patient with sepsis, there are several signs and symptoms of the infection which must be identified quickly, if the patient is to recover. Sepsis occurs in hospitals, often due to infection stemming from the hospital setting itself, or from a surgical error, such as a perforated colon. Patients in a hospital setting are exposed to a wide variety of infections, and improper hospital procedures regarding sterilization and patient monitoring can lead to infection. It is critical that doctors and hospital staff utilize proper hygiene and monitor their patients to both prevent and treat sepsis before it overwhelms the patient’s immune system.

Signs of sepsis include:

  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate, also known as tachycardia
  • Shallow breathing
  • Increased respiratory rate, also known as tachypnea
  • Increased white blood cell count
  • Altered mental status
  • Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension

If these signs and symptoms of sepsis are ignored, the patient’s chances of a full recovery diminish. Patients who experience sepsis have lengthened hospital stays, which increases their medical bills and time away from work. Some cases of sepsis result in the loss of a limb or the patient’s life.

The Charleston medical malpractice attorneys at the Waggoner Law Firm have experience with patients who have suffered from post-operative infections including sepsis. Contact us today if you or your loved one has been the victim of these preventable and treatable infections. Call the Waggoner Law Firm today at (843) 972-0426. 

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