Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Sepsis Is a Serious Condition in Maryland’s Hospitals

Holding healthcare providers accountable for the spread of life-threatening infections

More than 750,000 patients contract sepsis, and more than 210,000 patients die from the condition in the United States every year. The incidence is particularly prevalent in intensive care units, where about 40 percent of patients are either admitted to the unit with sepsis or develop it at some point during their stay. These statistics are particularly alarming considering that the condition is often preventable and treatable, especially at its earliest benign stages.

Founded in 1987, LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. advocates for injured patients in Maryland’s health system. Our lawyers have witnessed too many cases in which hospital negligence has resulted in serious or fatal infections and septic shock. Protocol for preventing equipment malfunction and contamination could halt the spread of infection from one patient to the next. In some cases, a simple test would be enough to detect sepsis and to stop the condition from progressing to the organ failure stage. When we file your medical malpractice claim, our goals are twofold — we pursue the maximum compensation possible in your case, and we draw attention to the unnecessary risks of sepsis in our hospitals.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is not an infection, but rather the body’s response to an infection, which could start anywhere, including in the intestines, kidneys, lungs or skin, and can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Sepsis occurs when the body releases chemicals into the bloodstream to fight off an infection. The body’s response to the infection triggers severe inflammation, referred to as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), that can manifest in such symptoms as chills, delirium, absent urine output, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate and skin rash. If left untreated, blood pressure continues to drop until the patient enters septic shock, a life-threatening condition in which major organs stop functioning.

Why hospital patients are at risk of septic shock

Patients are at high risk of developing a hospital-acquired infection (HAI), or nosocomial infection, that is often Gram-negative, or resistant to antibiotics. Hospitals contribute to the spread of HAIs through inadequate sterilization procedures and overuse of antibiotics. Under these circumstances, even an otherwise healthy patient admitted for a routine procedure is susceptible to contracting an infection that can trigger sepsis. Risk factors for developing sepsis in a hospital setting include the patient’s:

  • Compromised immune system
  • Existing medical condition, such as diabetes, AIDS, leukemia or lymphoma
  • Wounds, injuries or burns for which the patient was admitted to the hospital
  • Development of bedsores
  • Intravenous catheters, breathing tubes or other invasive devices
  • Recent surgery
  • Extensive use of antibiotics

Whereas patients with mild sepsis often recover, almost half the patients who develop septic shock die from the condition. Therefore, the hospital’s guidelines for testing and treating sepsis may be a major issue in a medical malpractice liability lawsuit.

For More Information about Infections, Sepsis and Septic Shock, Consult the Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness Tolzman & Hamilton

Recover damages for the sepsis you acquired while in the hospital. Call LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact our firm online to schedule your free initial consultation with our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers. Our law firm represents you on a contingency basis, meaning you do not owe us attorney fees until we recover damages on your behalf.