The days after a surgical procedure are often the most critical for a number of reasons. Even if you underwent outpatient surgery, your doctor should monitor you closely and diligently follow up with you to ensure that you don't suffer any adverse effects from the procedure, including an infection.
What may start out as a harmless infection could quickly lead to sepsis in which your body essentially begins attacking itself. Make no mistake; this can progress into a life-threatening situation. You need medical attention right away in order to avoid developing other complications that put your life even further at risk. One of those conditions is acute respiratory distress syndrome.
What is ARDS?
ARDS is a potentially fatal infection of the lungs that comes on rapidly, often as the result of sepsis. Under normal circumstances, the air sacs in your lungs transfer oxygen to your blood. If you suffer from ARDS, your blood's oxygen supply becomes dramatically reduced. This is due to fluid that leaks from your blood vessels and into your air sacs. As the condition progresses, air sacs begin to collapse, which further compromises the amount of oxygen reaching your blood.
Your organs need oxygenated blood in order to function properly. When they don't receive it due to something like ARDS, they can cease to function properly. This may cause your organs to fail.
What are the symptoms of ARDS?
The following symptoms are indicative of ARDS:
- Extreme fatigue
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Organ failure
- Difficulty taking breaths
- Low blood pressure
Unfortunately, on the surface, these symptoms may not raise any red flags when it comes to ARDS. Identifying your symptoms as ARDS may be problematic since they may align with other conditions. Even so, if you exhibit these symptoms after a surgery, you need medical attention right away. This is truly a medical emergency, and your life is in danger.
Getting immediate treatment
The first order of business is to get more oxygen into your blood. If you have compromised breathing, doctors may need to put a tube down your throat (intubate you) in order to push vital oxygen directly into your lungs. Once doctors get your breathing under control, your doctors can implement a course of treatment in order to clear the underlying sepsis and the ARDS. Thereafter, you may suffer from scarring of your lung tissue, and your lungs may not work properly ever again.
After the medical emergency has passed, you may start to wonder whether your surgeon and other doctors made a mistake that led to this health catastrophe. If you suspect that medical malpractice occurred, you may want to find out for sure so that you can take the next step in the pursuit of compensation for your injuries and other damages.