We trust Southavens nursing homes to care for the most vulnerable of the area’s population. Nursing home residents are often older adults or victims with injuries requiring around-the-clock care. While many nursing homes care for residents well, there are times when those under care are abused or neglected, and the outcomes of this mistreatment can be severe or even fatal.
One particularly dangerous outcome of neglect is the onset of sepsis and the continued failure to recognize and respond to its symptoms. If your loved one is a resident who has fallen ill with this infection, reach out to a Southaven nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer from the team at GKBM. We will connect you with a Southaven personal injury lawyer who will pursue compensation to cover your loved one’s losses.
Sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) sepsis occurs when a person has an infection, and that infection causes a “chain reaction” throughout the body. Most often, the initial infections start in the “lungs, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract” and are bacterial infections. However, viral infections like COVID-19 or the “flu” or fungal infections can cause sepsis too.
Sepsis itself is not contagious, but the infections triggering it are, which is why it is critical for nursing home staff to maintain clean environments, maintain their own and the residents’ hygiene, and take care to prevent infections from spreading.
If not treated promptly, sepsis can cause tissue damage and organ failure and lead to death.
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Nursing Home Residents Are at High Risk for Sepsis
Many characteristics of people at high risk for sepsis are common to nursing home residents. Among others, the CDC lists these common high-risk traits:
- Older age, specifically those 65 and older
- Chronic medical conditions
- Weakened immune systems
- Recent serious illness or hospitalization
- Having a prior incident of sepsis
A recent study published by Advisory Board reports 25,000 nursing home residents die each year from sepsis. A Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) study published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that in years preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, 82% of nursing homes had deficient infection-prevention protocols in place. The pandemic increased residents’ vulnerability to sepsis.
Specific risk factors for nursing home residents include
- Immobility, which can lead to pressure sores that become infected
- Incontinence, which increases the potential for skin to break and become exposed to infection
- Lack of nutrition and hydration, as some patients do not have strong appetites or recognize signs of dehydration
- Diminished cognition and sensory perception, which prevents residents from noticing symptoms of infection
Symptoms of Sepsis
Nursing home staff must be on the lookout for symptoms of sepsis in those under their care, and loved ones should also take note and seek emergency medical care if they think their family member could be septic. Symptoms include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Low blood pressure and weak pulse
- Severe pain
- Fever, chills, or shivering
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty or cold and clammy skin
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A Nursing Home Sepsis Lawyer in Southaven Can Help
When nursing home neglect causes your loved one to become ill with sepsis, that facility needs to be held responsible and pay for the losses your loved one has suffered. Nursing homes owe their residents a duty of care, a legal obligation, to actively protect their safety. If they fail in that duty, your Southaven nursing home sepsis attorney will gather evidence to prove their failure and show how it led to your loved one’s illness and its financial, emotional, and physical consequences.
Your attorney will investigate your loved one’s situation to identify who is specifically culpable for the breach of their duty of care. For example, the breach may have resulted from:
- Understaffing: the facility may not employ enough staff to give residents proper attention. Residents may not get proper wound care or develop wounds from constant immobility.
- Undertrained or under-supervised staff: accidental injuries can result when staff are not fully trained or supervised, and can lead to infection. Untrained staff may fail to recognize signs of sepsis.
- Negligent or abusive staff members
- Misdiagnosis by facility medical personnel
- Unsanitary conditions: infections lead to sepsis. Staff must manage patients’ hygiene and keep the environment sterile to keep bacteria from growing and infections from developing.
- Inadequate infection-prevention protocols: the government requires facilities to follow prescribed protocols to prevent the spread of infection, including having at minimum an on-site, part-time infection preventionist
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After investigating, your Southaven nursing home sepsis attorney will file a claim against the at-fault party, submit evidence and other required legal paperwork, and handle all communication with the at-fault party’s representatives. Nursing facilities have their own legal and insurance representatives, and it is best to leave discussions with them to an experienced lawyer.
Your attorney will evaluate the extent of your loved one’s losses and make a settlement demand to cover those losses. The demand will account for:
- Medical bills for treatment
- Continuing medical costs for damage or disabilities caused by the sepsis
- The pain and emotional suffering your loved one endured
- Losses to your loved one’s quality of life
- Any other related expenses or losses
If your loved one dies from sepsis, your nursing home sepsis attorney in Southaven will file a wrongful death claim so your family can recover related medical expenses and end-of-life costs. A wrongful death settlement also acknowledges your loss of affection and relationship and offers a measure of justice for the untimely, preventable death of your loved one.
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When your loved one suffers or dies from preventable sepsis because of a nursing care facility’s negligence or abusive actions, the team at GKBM will help you hold that facility accountable. A Southaven nursing home sepsis attorney will pursue financial compensation for your loved one’s expenses and justice for their suffering.
The most vulnerable among us need strong protectors, and GKBM is here to take good care of your loved one. Contact us today.