Post-sepsis syndrome: Surviving sepsis may only be the first step

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You may not even remember much about your stay in the intensive care unit. You may have woken up in a normal hospital room to find that your stay in the ICU gave you a life-threatening case of sepsis. Doctors may have told you that they treated you for this severe and potentially terminal infection and the danger has passed.

You probably accepted that explanation and went home feeling lucky to be alive. After all, you did survive an illness or injury that put you in the hospital along with a potentially fatal infection. You try to continue with your recovery, but something just doesn’t feel right.

You may have post-sepsis syndrome

In many cases, surviving sepsis is only be part of the battle. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you could now suffer from post-sepsis syndrome:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-belief
  • Insomnia
  • Problems falling asleep
  • Problems staying asleep
  • Decreased mental function
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares
  • Vivid hallucinations
  • Poor concentration
  • Disabling joint and muscle pain
  • Extreme fatigue

Studies indicate that the older you are, the more intensely you may feel these symptoms, particularly the decrease in cognitive function. You may also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, but putting this together with your bout with sepsis may not be particularly easy since many patients who spend time in the ICU suffer from PTSD. However, your doctor still needs to know about it.

The aftermath of sepsis can be debilitating

Some people who suffer PSS experience such debilitation that they are unable to perform even the most mundane tasks:

  • Bathing
  • Preparing meals
  • Going to the toilet

The cognitive decline can cause memory problems and the inability to perform complex mental tasks.

Other issues associated with PSS

Due to blood clotting issues related to sepsis, some patients lose toes, fingers or or limbs to gangrene, which required amputation. Breathing difficulties during your illness can also make you more susceptible to viral infections in your lungs.

Some of the after-effects of sepsis have explanations, but others do not. For instance, medical science has yet to determine why chronic pain and debilitating fatigue accompany PSS for some people.

The bottom line

Sepsis most often occurs in hospital settings. A medical error may have caused or contributed to your contracting this serious infection. Now, after the hospital has told you that the danger has passed, you still suffer from that mistake. You may still be incurring medical and medical-related expenses due to your bout with sepsis. You may also not be able to work.

Your financial losses only make your situation worse. On the bright side, you may have legal options to pursue compensation. If you have questions about these matters, a medical malpractice attorney can provide the answers you need.