New York City Failure to Diagnose Sepsis Law Firm


What is Sepsis?

Illnesses and infections occur in even the healthiest of people no matter how much we try to stay away from what may harm us. Infections leading to sepsis are particularly distressing, and often occur in those who have a weak immune system, such as the elderly or babies, whose immune systems might not be strong enough to fight off disease at these more vulnerable points in life. Though our body’s natural defense is to protect us against infection, sepsis is caused when the response to infection is excessive, which triggers widespread inflammation and can lead to impaired blood flow, blood clots and leaky blood vessels. In the worst case, sepsis can cause death.

We have all heard of the tiny cut that leads to a severe infection, sometimes after swimming or bathing in a contaminated water sources, or from a knife that was not washed. But, before you keep yourself in an incubator, here are some symptoms and causes, and what you can do to prevent sepsis from happening to you.

Causes and Symptoms of Sepsis

Sepsis is most often identified in three stages: sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock. Sepsis is when the infection has reached the bloodstream and causes bodily inflammation. Severe sepsis is when the infection has advanced to disrupting blood flow to the brain or kidneys, and leads to organ failure. Septic shock is when the blood pressure drops so significantly that it leads to respiratory, heart or organ failure—and death.

Failure to diagnose on the part of a health care physician is a serious matter. We trust our physicians to lead us in the right direction when it comes to our health. But in a failure to diagnose case, you as a patient may have not received the care that you should have due to oversight of a symptom by your physician. This may have happened from your physician rushing through a routine examination where he missed what he was supposed to find. Sadly, sepsis hits more than a million Americans annually, and up to half of those who are affected die.

Sepsis does not occur on its own, or before someone goes to the hospital. Some cases of sepsis can occur even after surgery, and dismissed as just a routine “side effect” of that surgery. In this case, the patient has been sent home, often with prescribed bedrest and fluids only to find the condition worsening over time. If you or someone you know had surgery leading to any of the below conditions, there may be reason to believe that your physician did not act accordingly, as the window for effective treatment of sepsis with antibiotics may lapsed. These symptoms include:

  • Patchy, discolored skin
  • Decrease in urination amount, or difficulty urinating
  • Confusion, lightheadedness and disorientation
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Chills and weakness
  • Severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • Body temperature below 98.6 or a high fever

Treatment and Aftermath of Sepsis

Unfortunately, those who are affected with sepsis cannot be treated with a simple prescription. The patient is often admitted to the intensive care unit for constant monitoring and maintenance of the vital organs in order to prevent the infection from spreading further. For those who may have had pre-existing conditions such as a lung infection, bronchitis or pneumonia, the damage from sepsis could be devastating and permanent, and lead to higher vulnerability of the immune system in the future to fight off illness and infection.

Once the patient is admitted to the hospital, however, various tests can be administered to gauge the degree of sepsis and whether or not septic shock actually took place. Tests that determine how much secretion flows from an open wound, tests that determine what type of mucous comes from the infection, urine tests, and spinal fluid tests can all be effective in determining the level of sepsis. Blood tests are key when diagnosing sepsis and septic shock, and those types of tests can determine the following, which may lead to an even higher diagnosis:

  • bacteria in the bloodstream
  • abnormal functioning of the kidneys
  • blood clot issues
  • imbalance of electrolytes

Because of the seriousness of sepsis, we rely on the knowledge of health care professionals to diagnose correctly. Often times, the diagnoses comes too late. Doctors have become accustomed to treating cancer patients and organ transplant patients with strong medications. In the case of sepsis, these strong medications end up weakening the immune system, and have the inability to fight off the advanced stages of infection. In addition, there are many strains of bacteria, most of which have become immune to antibiotics, making treatment ineffective.

If you or someone you know feels victimized by a health care provider failing to diagnose symptoms of infection resulting in sepsis or septic shock, there may be a reason to file a lawsuit, and consulting an attorney would be first on the list.

What is a Case for Failure to Diagnose Sepsis?

A failure to diagnose case means that the physician did not rise to the standard of care that should have been given to a patient. With sepsis, patients who have negative blood results have the right to ask for further testing. In addition, other tests may need to be ordered. If you did not receive any of the following after a negative blood test, you may want to contact an attorney to help you with your failure to diagnose case. Were you ordered x-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds or MRIs? If not, an advanced condition may have been overlooked as the sepsis continued to infect your body. We know that our doctors do what they can to ensure our health and safely, but even the most highly respected physicians are stressed out, overworked, and strapped for time

If you believe you have the initial findings to state a claim for a failure to diagnose or medical malpractice case, Finz & Finz, P.C., is renowned for settling failure to diagnose cases. We invite you to fill out and submit our Free Failure to Diagnose Sepsis Evaluation form without any obligation, or contact us toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM to further discuss your individual situation. In addition to failure to diagnose, Finz & Finz, P.C., handles all types of medical malpractice cases, including the following conditions:

  • Birth defects
  • Strokes
  • Liver cancer
  • Cervical or vaginal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Osteoporosis

The team at Finz & Finz, P.C., consists of attorneys renowned for achieving desirable results in lawsuits related to failure to diagnose sepsis. The lawyers and paralegals at the firm are standing by to answer your questions.