Sepsis in Los Angeles Nursing Homes
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can occur as the body’s extreme reaction to an infection. The elderly are especially vulnerable to infections, as well as sepsis and a related condition known as septic shock. In a Los Angeles nursing home setting, sepsis is something that nurses and staff members should be trained to prevent and detect. If a nursing home failed to prevent your loved one from developing sepsis – or did not properly treat this dangerous condition – your family can file a lawsuit against the establishment in pursuit of financial compensation.
What Is Sepsis?
Sepsis, also known as septicemia, is the body’s overactive response to an infection. When an infection is introduced to the system, such as from an injury or bedsore, it can trigger an overwhelming chain reaction that is toxic for the victim. This can lead to a dangerous response throughout the body, triggering tissue damage and mass organ failure. If left untreated, sepsis can lead to death.
What Causes Sepsis in Nursing Homes?
Most cases of severe sepsis are caused by bacterial infections, although other infections can also be to blame. Examples include pneumonia, urinary tract infections, digestive system infections and wound infections. Viral infections, including COVID-19 and the flu, can also lead to sepsis. Residents in living facilities are especially susceptible to infections and sepsis for many reasons:
- Older age. Adults who are 65 and older are at an increased risk for sepsis.
- Weakened immune systems. The elderly – especially those combatting illnesses or injuries – have weakened immune systems that can make them more prone to serious infections.
- Chronic medical conditions. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and cancer increase the risk of serious infections and related complications.
- Invasive medical devices. The use of catheters, IVs and breathing tubes can compromise a patient’s immune system and invite infection.
- Neglect. An understaffed or poorly run nursing home may neglect the care and supervision of its residents – increasing the odds of an infection developing and going unnoticed.
Nursing home employees, caretakers and medical staff should be aware of the risk of sepsis and take actionable steps to prevent this medical condition in residents. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes in Los Angeles take their responsibilities toward residents seriously. Lax resident care, disorganized facilities, and elder abuse or neglect can increase the risk of sepsis and other severe health problems for vulnerable senior citizens.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis?
If your loved one lives in a nursing home in LA, it is important to keep a lookout for possible signs of sepsis during visits. If nursing home abuse or neglect is contributing to your loved one’s poor health, staff members may not notice sepsis until it’s too late. Common symptoms include:
- Low blood pressure
- High heart rate
- Sepsis rash – a cluster of tiny spots
- Bruising or purplish marks
- Confusion or disorientation
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Pain or discomfort
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Fever or chills
- Lower temperature than normal
- Cold hands or feet
- Clammy or sweaty skin
- Signs of an infection
Sepsis is an extremely serious condition that requires emergency medical care. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical to recovery. If you believe your loved one is showing signs of sepsis, report it to a staff member at the nursing home immediately and make sure he or she is treated by a doctor.
Is Sepsis Fatal?
In some cases, sepsis can be fatal. Treating sepsis often involves a regimen of antibiotics, oxygen and IV fluids to reduce the body’s inflammatory response to an infection. Doctors will also attempt to manage the flow of blood to the organs and treat the source of the original infection. If left untreated, sepsis can continue to progress until it eventually affects multiple organs, including the kidneys, liver, lungs, heart and/or brain.
Severe cases of sepsis can result in septic shock. This is a sharp drop in blood pressure that can damage the organs. The blood flow that organs need to survive will be reduced enough to cause severe organ damage or total organ failure. This organ damage may be irreversible. Nursing home residents who suffer septic shock are at a high risk of death. Although septic shock can be treated, survivors are at a higher risk of future infections.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home for Sepsis?
A case of sepsis in a nursing home could be a sign of nursing home negligence or elder abuse. Sepsis is often preventable with proper nursing home resident care and attention. A well-maintained nursing home will reduce the risk of infections to begin with, such as with clean premises and good resident nutrition and care. If the signs of infection arise, a good nursing home will isolate the individual to prevent the spread of the infection to others, properly clean and sanitize the resident’s room and belongings, and provide proper medical care to treat the infection.
If a nursing home is guilty of ignoring, neglecting, mistreating or abusing a resident, this can foster an environment that not only causes infections but fails to quickly diagnose and address them – increasing the risk of sepsis. If your loved one is not diagnosed with sepsis until it has progressed to its later stages (possibly past the point of effective treatment), this is also a sign of neglect. A nursing home abuse lawyer will investigate the situation and fight for you or your loved one.
Contact an Attorney in LA for a Free Consultation About Sepsis in Nursing Homes
It is possible to file a lawsuit against a nursing home in Los Angeles for sepsis. A lawsuit can result in financial compensation, as well as hold a nursing home accountable for neglecting or abusing its residents. A lawsuit can force a nursing home to make changes to its staff or procedures, potentially protecting other senior citizens from a similar injustice in the future.
If a loved one tragically lost his or her life due to sepsis at a nursing home, a Los Angeles wrongful death lawsuit may be brought to cover the victim and family’s expenses instead. If you wish to find out if you have grounds for a lawsuit against a nursing home in Los Angeles for a case of sepsis, please contact Rose, Klein & Marias to arrange a free consultation. We are experienced and compassionate injury attorneys who can pursue your unique case goals.