Sepsis is a serious medical condition that can be fatal if not promptly responded to. If this does not happen, it can lead to septic shock and even patient death. If you were injured because a healthcare provider caused you to go into septic shock or you tragically lost a loved one to sepsis, you may have legal options available.
The experienced legal team at Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. is here to help. We can evaluate your claim during a free consultation. Call us today to speak with an experienced Chicago sepsis lawyer.
What Causes Sepsis?
Sepsis is caused by an infection in the body. This infection could be due to bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Common causes of sepsis include:
- Strep throat
- C. Difficile
- Liver disease
- Urinary tract infection
- Dental infections
- Cuts or wounds
When the body has infections of this nature, the immune system releases chemicals to fight the infection, but they can spread quickly to other parts of the body.
Examples of Medical Malpractice or Negligence Leading to Sepsis
There are many actions or inactions of healthcare providers that can lead to sepsis or a medical malpractice claim, including the following:
- Failing to promptly diagnose and treat an infection that resulted in sepsis
- Failing to properly monitor a patient’s condition
- Failing to treat sepsis or septic shock
- Prescribing the wrong treatment for sepsis
- Improperly inserting IVs
An experienced lawyer can review your situation and explain your legal rights and options for seeking justice and accountability.
How Can a Sepsis Lawyer Help Me?
You have enough to deal with if you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with sepsis. This can be a serious, life-threatening condition, so your focus needs to be on your health or protecting your loved one. An experienced lawyer can help with your claim by:
- Investigating the incident and identifying all at-fault parties
- Reviewing all relevant medical records
- Answering your questions about your medical negligence case
- Working with experts to obtain a certificate of merit
- Retaining medical experts to testify on your behalf
- Gathering additional evidence to support your claim
- Evaluating all of the damages you suffered because of the healthcare provider’s negligence
- Deposing witnesses under oath
- Handling communication with insurance companies and others on your behalf
- Negotiating for fair compensation on your behalf
- Presenting your case at trial if fair compensation is not offered to settle the case
Who Is Responsible for Sepsis?
Because sepsis can develop for a variety of reasons, one step that must be taken is determining who is responsible for sepsis and the resulting injuries. An experienced sepsis lawyer can review your case and determine whether any of the following parties are responsible for it:
- Nursing homes
- Medical clinics
- Long-term care facilities
- Other healthcare providers
What Damages Can I Recover in a Sepsis Case?
If you are injured due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffered, which might include:
- Medical expenses, including hospital stays, doctor visits, MRI tests, radiological costs, and medications
- Medical expenses you are reasonably expected to incur in the future
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- Emotional distress
- Anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions caused by the error
If you lost a loved one to sepsis, you might be able to recover wrongful death damages, which compensate certain surviving family members for losses such as:
- Loss of society
- Loss of services the decedent would have provided
- Loss of financial support
- Grief, sorrow and mental suffering
An experienced lawyer can evaluate your claim and explain which damages you might be able to recover.
What Is the Deadline to File a Sepsis Case in Illinois?
In Illinois, medical malpractice victims are subject to the statute of limitations, which sets a maximum time limit to file a lawsuit against the negligent healthcare provider. The statute of limitations is generally two years, which begins when the patient knew or should have known the malpractice occurred, or two years after a patient’s death in a wrongful death claim.
If the patient was a minor at the time the malpractice occurred, the statute of limitations extends to eight years after the malpractice occurs, but in any event, they must file the claim before their 22nd birthday.
Exceptions to the statute of limitations may apply, and so we recommend that you not delay seeking legal assistance following any potential malpractice affecting you or a loved one so you can preserve your legal rights.
Complications of Sepsis
If sepsis is not treated promptly, it can result in serious complications, including:
- Spreading of infection throughout the bloodstream
- Septic shock
- Organ failure
- Blood clots
- Shutting down of the immune system
The Mayo Clinic explains that the brain, heart, kidneys, or other vital organs can be deprived of the blood they need if sepsis worsens. Blood clots can destroy tissues. The mortality rate for septic shock is about 30 to 40%. Additionally, severe sepsis can raise the risk for future infections. For those who survive sepsis, victims may suffer permanent organ or limb damage.
Signs of Sepsis
If you are concerned about the possibility of sepsis or trying to think whether there were signs of sepsis that the doctor missed, here is a brief list of the common symptoms associated with sepsis:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Respiratory rate of 22 breaths/minute or higher
- High levels of lactic acid in the blood
- Pain and discomfort
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Changes in mental state
Sepsis is a relatively common medical condition, so healthcare providers should be on the lookout and closely monitor patients who may be at risk of it. If you or a loved one are currently experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Medical Malpractice and Sepsis
In some situations, medical malpractice is the underlying cause of the infection. Infections can occur in hospitals and other medical settings. If a patient has an open wound, bacteria can seep into the body and result in sepsis.
In other situations, the patient may already have the infection when seeking medical care. A negligent healthcare provider might fail to recognize the signs of sepsis, which can lead to a worsening of the patient’s condition and further harm or death.
In either situation, you will need to prove the following legal elements to establish a medical malpractice claim in Illinois:
- The healthcare provider had a doctor/patient relationship with you and a duty to provide care consistent with the standard of care.
- The healthcare provider deviated from the appropriate standard of care.
- The deviation caused you harm.
- You suffered harm that the court can compensate you for.
An experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can help you meet this burden of proof.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice Caused Sepsis
In Illinois, it is necessary to have a certificate of merit from a qualified medical expert with your legal complaint that helps establish the elements of medical malpractice. This must provide sufficient details to support the basis of a medical malpractice claim, including:
- The healthcare provider owed you or your loved one a duty of care.
- A reasonable healthcare provider would have done something differently than the defendant did under the circumstances.
- The healthcare provider violated the accepted standard of care with an explanation of how they did so causing you harm.
An experienced Chicago medical malpractice lawyer can help you fight for compensation.
Treatment for Sepsis
Sepsis is treatable. If the condition is diagnosed in time, treatment can help save the patient’s life or prevent permanent injury. Antibiotics can help stop the infection, while intravenous fluids help maintain blood pressure. Additional medical interventions may be necessary, depending on the circumstances. These may include kidney dialysis to remove toxins from the blood, surgery to remove infected tissues, and/or the use of a respirator to help with breathing.
Whether sepsis treatment is effective depends on the patient’s medical condition and how quickly the condition is recognized. Generally, the faster the signs of sepsis are recognized, the better the potential prognosis for the patient. If sepsis is not recognized and acted upon quickly, complications can arise, and the condition can be fatal.
Contact an Experienced Chicago Sepsis Lawyer for Legal Advice and Representation
If you were injured or lost a loved one due to sepsis or septic shock, the experienced Chicago sepsis lawyers from Rapoport Weisberg & Sims P.C. can help. Our legal team can help you hold a negligent healthcare provider responsible for the harm they caused and hopefully prevent another family from dealing with the aftermath of a sepsis case.
Contact our firm today for your free, no-obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we charge no fees upfront. You only pay if we are able to recover compensation on your behalf, so you have nothing to lose by contacting us today for your free case review.