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Did surgical or post-surgical mistakes cause your sepsis?

One of the risks involved in any surgical procedure is infection. Your surgeon and the medical personnel attending to your care before, during and after the procedure know this and should take the appropriate precautions to make sure that you don't contract an infection.

You see, an untreated infection could quickly turn into a life-threatening condition called sepsis. When you have an infection, your body releases chemicals to fight it. In some cases, this causes an inflammatory response that affects one or more of your body's organ systems, and those organs can fail to work properly and threaten your life. Left untreated, you could develop a dangerous drop in blood pressure called septic shock, which could kill you.

The three stages of sepsis

Those in the medical profession tend to view sepsis as a condition involving three phases:

  • If you have an infection and suffer from the following symptoms, you could have sepsis:
    • Heart rate exceeds 90 beats per minute
    • Body temperature below 96.9 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Body temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Respiration exceeds 20 breaths per minute
  • If your condition progresses into severe sepsis, you probably exhibit the following symptoms:
    • Sudden change in mental status
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Significantly decreased urination
    • Abdominal pain
    • Decrease in platelet count
    • Abnormal heart-pumping function
  • If you progress into septic shock, your blood pressure drops to a dangerous level and you suffer from the symptoms of severe sepsis.

As is the case with many conditions, catching it early could make all the difference. If the medical personnel attending to you fail to catch the condition early enough, it could affect your heart, kidneys and brain, along with other organ systems. Sepsis can also cause a decrease in the blood supply to your extremities that may only receive treatment through amputation.

Holding caregivers responsible

If it turns out that the treatment you received fell below acceptable medical standards, your condition may have resulted from medical malpractice. The problems may have started with a surgical infection and progressed from there. If doctors failed to aggressively treat your infection in a timely manner, it could have led to sepsis. Failing to diagnose and treat it immediately and aggressively may cause you lifelong health issues that change your life forever.

The challenge is proving it. This is where the assistance and advice of a Missouri medical malpractice attorney could prove invaluable.

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