Gone undetected, sepsis can kill quickly. It often begins with a bacterial infection that should resolve with proper treatment. However, if doctors fail to properly treat that infection in a timely manner, the body can turn on itself.
When this happens, your health can deteriorate at an alarming rate until you have trouble even moving, let alone getting yourself to the hospital where you find out you suffer from septic shock, which could kill you. At this point, you will likely spend several days in the intensive care unit where it could be touch and go for some time. How did you get to this point?
Some facts about sepsis
It doesn't matter what type of infection started the process. What matters is that, at some point, your body began flooding itself with chemicals to fight the infection, which started a bad chain reaction of inflammation in your body. Sepsis does not happen on its own. It qualifies as a complication of an infection. When sepsis progresses to septic shock, your organs could fail, you could end up with respiratory or heart failure, or you could have a stroke.
You would think that doctors would catch this condition before it becomes life threatening, but the numbers don't lie. Each year, around 1.7 million people contract sepsis. Of those individuals, approximately 270,000 die from the condition. To put that into perspective, one person who has sepsis dies every two minutes in this country -- a developed nation with advanced medical technology and a thriving pharmaceutical industry. Of the people who die in the hospital, research estimates that as much as one-third had sepsis.
The biggest risk factor for sepsis
It may surprise you to know that nearly 60% of sepsis victims are age 65 or older. If you fall into this age category, then you know that your immune system just isn't the same as it used to be, which leaves you vulnerable to infections that could turn into sepsis. Pneumonia appears to lead to sepsis more often than not in this age group. Chronic illnesses tend to make it a challenge to properly diagnose infections and sepsis as you age.
Doctors know this, but that doesn't always guarantee that they will diligently monitor you to make sure you receive quick and proper treatment if you contract an infection to avoid sepsis. If you do end up with sepsis, it could be due to an oversight by your doctor. If that's the case, you could end up with expensive medical costs and other damages you can't afford and could have avoided. It may be appropriate to pursue compensation for your financial losses as part of your recovery.