When you enter a Texas hospital to undergo surgery, you know you are at risk. You also assume that the medical care providers who will be tending to your needs will keep your best interests at heart and conduct themselves according to the highest level of accepted standards. You also understand that during recovery, you remain at risk for infection, especially during the first 40 hours post-op.
What you may not consider ahead of time, however, is that if someone drops the ball at any point between your check-in and return home, you may suffer grave injury or life-threatening illness, such as sepsis.
What is sepsis, and how do you know if you have it?
There are basically three levels of sepsis, which can be a fatal condition. It's an infection that spreads throughout the body, often following surgical procedures. The following list includes facts that may help you learn more about it, as well as how to recognize signs that you may be suffering from this serious infection:
- With sepsis, the sooner it's caught, the higher the chances are that you'll survive.
- As with most other infections, one of the earliest signs of sepsis might be fever. Oddly, the opposite may also signify a serious problem, if your temperature drops below 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sepsis can cause labored breathing. Any time breaths increase to more than 20 per minute, it's a definite sign of trouble.
- Similarly, your heart rate should not exceed 90 beats per minute at rest. If it does, and especially if any of the other symptoms are present, you are likely in need of immediate medical attention.
This list shows symptoms of sepsis. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you can go from sepsis to severe sepsis in a short amount of time. At this point, you may cease urinating, may feel very confused and may even fall unconscious. The final level of sepsis infection is septic shock. You may be near death if you enter this phase.
Most doctors and nurses can easily recognize signs of sepsis. It is also doctors and nurses who often cause sepsis by their negligence. If you survive sepsis, your body will be weak for quite some time. This may necessitate extended leave of absence from work, which can exacerbate your problems by placing undue financial hardship on your family. This may be grounds for filing a medical malpractice claim against all parties deemed responsible.