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Could your joint replacement surgery lead to sepsis?

Conditions that used to debilitate people in the past can now benefit from medical advances. Joint replacement surgeries happen all the time these days here in Texas and elsewhere. People who couldn't walk without pain due to the degeneration of a knee or hip joint can receive a new lease on life by having the affected joint replaced.

If you are one of these people, you likely expected to regain your mobility and live without excruciating pain after the surgery. You anticipated your surgery with hope and excitement even though you knew risks were involved, but you thought those dangers came from the surgical procedure, not your post-operative care.

Doctors can't completely eliminate bacteria

Surgeons, their teams and hospitals attempt to keep surgical suites as sterile as possible, along with any equipment used for a particular procedure. However, the chance of bacteria getting into an incision or another open wound, onto an instrument, or even on the implant itself remains. Most of the time, people heal as expected, but some people end up with an infection.

If you are one of those people, and your medical team failed to properly monitor you after your surgery, the infection could continue to worsen. Any of the following symptoms could indicate an infection:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Pain around the incision
  • Redness around the incision
  • Fatigue
  • Warmer than normal skin around the incision
  • Pus or some other fluid coming from the incision

These signs will usually appear within a few days of the surgery. However, if the infection is in the joint itself, it could take much longer for symptoms to appear. More than likely, pain would give you the first indication. Because the possibility of infection exists despite any precautionary measures taken by doctors, nurses and others, they have an obligation to provide you with the best care possible in order to quickly diagnose and treat an infection. Otherwise, it could get worse.

An infection could turn into sepsis

If you fail to receive the proper care, your relatively easily treated infection could turn into sepsis. When this happens, your immune system begins to attack your body. It could progress into septic shock and quickly become life-threatening. It might take a stay in the ICU to get you back on your feet. Even so, you could experience health issues for the rest of your life.

During this ordeal, you will incur financial losses. You may be able to pursue compensation for those losses and other damages you suffered if the evidence shows that your doctors failed to provide you with the best standard of care possible.

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