Failure to diagnose sepsis/septic shock can be caused by Minnesota Medical Malpractice


What is sepsis?

Sepsis is a harmful complication of the body’s natural response to fighting bacterial infections. In a septic patient, the immune response causes inflammation throughout the body, which can cut off blood flow to his or her organs. It can also lead to blood clots in organs and limbs, causing these organs to fail or tissues to die.


Sepsis is a serious medical condition and can cause death if untreated or undiagnosed

In its ordinary stage, sepsis causes fever and a fast heartbeat and breathing rate. Without effective treatment, it progresses to severe sepsis, when the body starts showing various signs of organ failure. If a severely septic patient also has very low blood pressure that can’t be fixed with an IV drip or other simple fluid replacement, he or she has progressed to the final stage, septic shock. Septic shock is fatal in nearly half of cases. In milder degrees of sepsis, a person may be left with serious injury to organs or limbs.


How sepsis is spread

Although you can contract sepsis-triggering bacterial infections nearly anywhere, sepsis usually arises in patients who are already hospitalized. This is because any catheterization or needle stick involves some risk of infection, although a good healthcare provider will make that risk as small as possible. Not all patients are equally vulnerable to sepsis: the condition is more common in the elderly, in people with weakened immune systems, and in people who have previously had relatively severe sepsis, among other groups.


Sepsis must be diagnosed quickly to give the patient the best outcome

Doctors need to treat sepsis as quickly as possible. Usually, this means administering a broad-spectrum antibiotic even before lab tests have narrowed down the type of infection or confirmed a diagnosis. But sepsis can also masquerade as various other conditions, notably the organ failure it causes. A failure to diagnose sepsis can be lethal, or can leave a patient with permanent injuries.

Common reasons doctors fail to diagnose and treat sepsis in a timely manner

Medical malpractice can occur when the doctor fails to diagnose sepsis or septic shock.  There are a number of reasons why medical professionals may misdiagnose sepsis, including:

  • not ordering the appropriate testing (blood culture)
  • not reading the patient’s test results properly
  • failing to listen and appreciate the patient’s symptoms
  • confusing sepsis with a fungal infection
  • confusing sepsis with a viral infection
  • confusing sepsis with a urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or tuberculosis


If you or a loved one has suffered sepsis and suspect medical malpractice, contact Kuhlman Law today

If you or someone you love has suffered from sepsis, contact us today immediately at (612) 444-3374 to schedule an appointment with a Minnesota medical malpractice attorney. If possible, bring your medical history and any documentation you have about your medical treatment. If there is evidence that this sepsis could have been treated quickly and correctly, but the hospital staff let the condition progress, you deserve to know.

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