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What happens once sepsis takes hold of your body after surgery

Infection is one of the biggest post-surgical complications people experience. In the ordinary course of events, medical personnel properly monitor you and catch the infection before it progresses into a life-threatening situation, such as sepsis.

If those attending to your medical care fail to meet the minimum standard of care you deserve, then your infection may go unchecked until it does turn into sepsis, which can quickly put your life at risk. By the time doctors correctly diagnose you with sepsis or septic shock, you will more than likely require care in the intensive care unit for an undetermined amount of time.

The basics of sepsis treatment in the ICU

You may wonder why you would need to be in the ICU to treat sepsis. First, as the condition progresses, your body will continue to deteriorate to the point where your blood pressure could drop to a dangerous level, and your condition could begin to damage your organs. Moreover, you may need additional treatment for the underlying infection that led to sepsis.

Another reason you will require a stay in the ICU is that the staff in this area of the hospital presumably have a high-level of training in advanced support, which is vital because your body is attacking itself and your situation could change rapidly until the treatment takes hold. You will more than likely need some combination of the following care and monitoring:

  • Life support to keep your heart and lungs working
  • Dialysis to filter toxins from your body while your kidneys may not be able to
  • Ventilator to help you breathe
  • Oxygen to help you breathe when a ventilator is not needed
  • Tube down into your stomach to give you nutrition
  • Strong medications to treat the infection, such as painkillers, antibiotics, anti-viral or anti-fungal medication, blood pressure medication, sedatives, and more

The ICU also offers you more attention than you might receive on a regular ward. Nurses will closely monitor you, move you regularly to prevent bedsores and muscle atrophy, and more depending on how long you will need to remain in the unit.

It's an expensive prospect

Without such attentive and aggressive treatment, you could die, so it's obviously worth it. However, the cost of a stay in the ICU, additional time in the hospital once you no longer need the ICU and any post-sepsis recovery assistance you may need could have your head spinning at the possible total amount that you will owe at some point.

If it turns out that your doctor or nurses should have known you contracted a post-surgical infection, you may have legal options to hold those individuals liable for their action or inaction as the case may be.

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