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CDC Study Reveals Nearly Two-Thirds of Sepsis Cases Are Diagnosed Too Late

Posted on in Errors in Diagnosis

Chicago medical malpractice lawyersSepsis is a serious, fast-moving, and potentially fatal infection that causes more deaths in America than heart attacks. Even more concerning is a recent analysis done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in which it was found that nearly two-thirds of the 258,000 annual fatalities were missed by doctors and nurses. In some cases, the oversight could be considered a negligent medical error. If you or someone you love has experienced a missed or delayed sepsis diagnosis that resulted in death or injury, know your rights, including your right to pursue compensation.

Sepsis: A Potentially Fatal Medical Emergency

Almost any patient can suffer from a case of sepsis. In fact, one man nearly died from sepsis that occurred after a paper cut. His case was caught quickly, thanks to the hospital’s nationally recognized sepsis prevention and detection plan. He did end up in a medically induced coma for three weeks to give his body time to heal, but the man ultimately made a full recovery.

In contrast, a woman who had scratched herself in the garden recently died from organ failure caused by sepsis. The first doctor she saw misdiagnosed her with a trapped nerve. She was given anti-depressants and told to relax. A second doctor saw her three days later, after the woman started experiencing vomiting, increased pain, and severe swelling. That doctor thought she might have been suffering from a blood clot. She was sent to the hospital for blood tests. It was then determined that she had sepsis. Unfortunately, it had been caught too late.

Early Detection Can Improve Patient Outcomes

The difference between these two cases has been clearly documented by the CDC – early detection of sepsis can save lives, and delayed diagnosis increases the risk of mortality. In fact, catching the condition within the first six hours gives patients a pretty good prognosis. Yet, one study found that the chances for decrease by about 7.6 percent for each hour that it goes untreated. By the time the patient exceeds the first six hours, their risk of mortality has climbed to somewhere between 25 and 30 percent for severe sepsis and 40 to 70 percent if they have already gone into septic shock.

Diagnosis Can Be Difficult, But Not Impossible

Part of the reason that sepsis goes untreated or undetected is that there is no real or reliable test for it. Further, the symptoms can present differently from one patient to the next. However, there are hospitals that have found ways to prevent and detect sepsis early on. In fact, one hospital managed to reduce its sepsis mortality rate by more than 40 percent over the course of a decade, taking it from 49.1 percent in 2004 to just 7 percent in 2015. They learned how to treat it quickly and aggressively. This proves that it can be done, and it removes the excuse that hospitals may attempt to use in such cases.

Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or fatality because of sepsis, you have the right to pursue compensation for any losses you may have experienced. Unfortunately, patients and their families are often further victimized by hospitals and insurance companies that would rather avoid paying out compensation for negligence. Further, the legal system is highly complex, which can make navigating the path to justice difficult for those who have been injured.

At Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C., we stand behind our clients and pave the way to justice. Our Chicago, Illinois medical malpractice lawyers can protect your rights and best interests, and we will aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible for your situation. Get the seasoned legal representation you deserve for your case. Call 312-553-4900 and schedule your free consultation with us today.



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