Nursing homes perform the supreme duty of caring for members of our population who are older or seriously injured and need 24-hour care and supervision. Many facilities carry out this duty admirably, honoring residents’ needs and dignity. Unfortunately, some fail in their duty, neglecting the individuals and environment under their care and contributing to the spread of infections and high rates of sepsis.
If your loved one contracts sepsis because of their nursing facility’s negligence, a Millington personal injury lawyer can hold that facility accountable and secure compensation for your loved one. Reach out to a Millington nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer from GKBM for the representation you need.
When the body has an infection, the immune system usually keeps the infection localized. Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection, causing the infection to spread throughout the body, and can lead to organ and tissue damage or death if untreated.
Sepsis is a medical emergency. Though sepsis itself is not contagious, infections causing it are. Most commonly, bacterial infections in the lungs, gastrointestinal or urinary tracts, or skin trigger sepsis, but viral infections such as influenza and COVID-19 are also causes.
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Sepsis in Nursing Homes
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates long-term care facilities see one to three million cases of serious infection every year. A recent study by the Chicago Tribune and Kaiser Health News found 25,000 nursing home residents die from sepsis every year.
These sobering statistics show nursing home residents are at high risk for contracting sepsis. One reason is they typically have conditions increasing their susceptibility to sepsis. They are often 65 years or older, have chronic medical conditions, suffer from weakened immune systems, may have experienced a recent severe illness or hospitalization, or have had a previous incident with sepsis.
Why Millington Nursing Home Residents Are at High Risk for Sepsis
Other specific factors elevate nursing home residents’ risk for sepsis, including:
- Lack of mobility: remaining in the same position can produce ulcers
- Incontinence: with consistent exposure to waste, skin can break and develop infections
- Loss of appetite or hydration: lack of nutrition weakens the immune system, and a dehydrated body cannot flush toxins from the kidneys or other organs
- Cognitive and sensory perception limitations: diminished abilities make it difficult for residents to recognize symptoms
What Staff Need to Look for
Facility staff must be on high alert for symptoms of sepsis in residents. Failure to recognize symptoms or a misdiagnosis by the facility’s medical personnel can cause septic residents to suffer permanent damage or death.
Family and friends who visit residents should also know what to look for. If you suspect your loved one may have sepsis, get them immediate medical attention. Common symptoms of sepsis include:
- Weakened pulse
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Significant pain
- Chills or shivering
- Shortness of breath
- Clammy, sweaty, or mottled skin
- Nausea or diarrhea
Once your loved one gets the medical attention they need, speak with a nursing home sepsis lawyer in Millington. Along with medical care, your loved one may need legal representation to secure compensation for the losses they have sustained.
When Nursing Home Negligence Causes Sepsis
Nursing homes have a legal obligation, called a duty of care, to ensure residents’ safety. They must take active measures to protect residents from infection and avoid actions that may increase risks for infection. This responsibility falls on the facility itself, supervisors, medical personnel, and workers caring for residents daily.
Failures to uphold this duty occur when:
- Facilities are understaffed, and workers do not have time to give residents individual attention and notice potential symptoms of sepsis
- Residents’ hygiene is compromised
- Workers do not wash their hands
- The overall environment is unsanitary
- Residents are not repositioned frequently enough and develop pressure sores
- Residents are left wearing dirty clothes or in soiled bedding
- The facility does not comply with government protocols for infection prevention
Government Protocols for Preventing Infection
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently published a Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) study showing that in the years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of long-term care facilities were deficient in implementing infection-prevention protocols. The pandemic only raised residents’ risk for sepsis.
Nursing homes are under increased pressure to strengthen protocols for infection prevention and protect residents from sepsis. According to the government’s updated protocol requirements, facilities must have an on-site, part-time (at minimum), specially trained infection preventionist (IP).
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A Millington Nursing Home Sepsis Attorney Works for the Settlement Victims Deserve
When a nursing facility’s negligence is the cause of your loved one’s sepsis, a nursing home sepsis attorney in Millington can help secure much-needed and deserved compensation. If sepsis causes your loved one’s death, your attorney can file a wrongful death claim.
Victims collect a settlement by proving the at-fault party had a duty of care, breached that duty, and that breach caused measurable damage. Your attorney will investigate the situation to identify the party or parties at fault for creating the circumstances leading to your loved one’s sepsis.
Compile and Present Evidence
A skilled Millington nursing home sepsis lawyer from GKBM has the resources and experience to find extensive evidence proving the at-fault party’s negligence and your loved one’s damages.
File Legal Documentation
Your attorney will prepare and file your claim and all other required documentation accurately and on time. Partnering with an attorney promptly after the onset of your loved one’s illness is best, as it allows your attorney ample time to identify the at-fault parties, collect evidence, and file the claim within Mississippi’s statute of limitations.
Negotiate a Settlement
The nursing home will have its own team of legal and insurance representatives. Do not attempt to negotiate a settlement with these entities on your own. If you are given an initial offer, it will be lower than what your loved one deserves and needs, though those offering it will claim it is the “best you can expect.” Or they may use intimidation tactics to scare you into acceptance.
An experienced attorney will handle these negotiations and will not be intimidated or otherwise coerced into accepting less than a fair settlement. Your attorney knows the common “tricks of the trade” employed by insurance companies and has the legal knowledge needed to dismantle legal maneuvering the nursing home facility uses to evade their responsibility. Call to schedule a consultation today.