Failure to Diagnose: Surviving Sepsis


Doctors and hospitals have long insisted that there is nothing they can do to improve the mortality rate for patients who go into sepsis. Despite many different hospitals using many different systems, the death rate has remained stubbornly over 25 percent at best. Many doctors and hospitals still have death rates of 40 percent or higher. There are some doctors who take for granted that they will lose a quarter of these patients. After all, if other hospitals and doctors aren’t doing any better, they assume they are doing the best that can be done.

News out of Indiana has put the lie to this type of insistence. The Franciscan Alliance’s Northern Indiana Region hospitals have released their newest mortality statistics, and the death rate of sepsis patients has dropped drastically, all the way down to 18 percent over the last three years. And they did something very simple to achieve those numbers. They followed the guidelines of the National Surviving Sepsis campaign.

Sepsis is a major killer, the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. It is sad to think how many of these deaths were preventable. It is impossible to determine how many deaths were caused by failure to identify the disease early enough, but it is well established that early identification and treatment are the keys to survival.

Not everyone knows the symptoms to look for, which include:

  • A body temperature below 98.6 or high fever
  • Difficulty or inability to urinate
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Severe diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting

If you or a family member have suffered from sepsis, you are well aware how important early diagnosis is. You might also be aware that all too often early diagnosis doesn’t happen, and with each hour treatment is delayed the mortality rate spikes. Please, if you or a loved one died or suffered serious injury due to failure to diagnose sepsis, contact a qualified attorney to help you hold the doctor and hospital responsible. It is only by holding the negligent responsible that we can teach people how important prompt diagnosis is.