Sepsis from a bedsore is a rapidly progressing condition known to cause organ failure and eventual death. Sepsis can occur when bacteria from an infection enters the bloodstream through a wound and spreads to other areas of the body. When not properly managed, the condition can cause septic shock, where nearly 50 percent of all victims die.
Sepsis often starts with instant chills, spiking fever, rapid heart rate and quick repeated breathing. Septic shock can set during hypothermia (decreasing body temperature), lowering blood pressure or blood clotting, where confusion or significant change in mental acuity occurs. Individual suffering from sepsis often have red spots developing on the skin (hemorrhagic rash) that appear as clusters of tiny dots of blood.Common Symptoms of Sepsis
When left untreated, sepsis infection can overwhelm the patient. Typical symptoms include:
- The loss of interest in eating food
- Lack of awareness of surroundings
- Feet and hands that are cool or cold to the touch
- Lethargy, anxiousness or agitation
- Feverish body
- Coma or death
Sepsis infection is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical care. In most incidences, quick treatment involves antibiotic medications.The Stages of Bedsores and Why the Patient May Be at Risk for Sepsis
Bedsores develop in individuals with mobility impairment or mental challenges that have difficulty repositioning the body when in bed, in a chair or wheelchair. When any type of external pressure compresses against the skin, it can restrict blood flow to the area.
Depleted oxygen to the area can cause skin tissue to die. The necrotic tissue that forms a bedsore is often pink or red in color and warm to the touch. Tissue can begin to die in as little as two hours if the pressure is not relieved from the area.
Common bedsores appear at stage I, where the skin remains unbroken. By stage II, the top layers of skin have died, creating a crater and/or eschar (hanging skin) in the damaged area. When left unattended, or mismanaged, a stage I and stage II bedsore can quickly advance to stage III and stage IV, causing serious life-threatening conditions.
Serious consequences and potential death are two dangers in allowing a pressure sore (bedsore; pressure ulcer; decubitus ulcer) to advance to stage III or stage IV. Sepsis from a pressure ulcer can often turn into a massive infection that is difficult, if not impossible, to control. When bacteria are allowed to enter the bloodstream, the toxins can easily spread rapidly throughout the body and produce sepsis.Preventing Sepsis
The most beneficial way for treating a bedsore is to prevent it from happening. In fact, pressure sores are avoidable unless the patient has specific medical conditions that eliminate the possibility of mobility.
Preventing sepsis from a bedsore requires meticulous attention by every caregiver in the facility treating the patient including doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides, health professional and family members providing care. Close inspection of those chair-bound and bedridden is required every day. This is because daily inspections can quickly identify any early signs of discoloration or redness on the skin.
Bedsores tend to occur on areas of the body that are bony with little or no fat, like ankles, heels, knees, buttocks, tailbone, hipbones, sacrum, elbows, shoulder blades, shoulders and the back of the head. Any discoloration or redness is an indicator that the individual requires repositioning so blood flow can be restored to normal.Taking Legal Action When a Patient Has Developed Sepsis
If an infection, sepsis or bedsore is not properly diagnosed and treated, septic shock can occur, it can cause damage to internal organs or lead to brain damage, amputations, encephalopathy (brain dysfunction) and even death. These medical conditions can be the first indicator of neglect in the facility. Poor care in a medical facility must be reported to ensure the safety of the loved one.
If a loved one residing in a hospital, assistant living facility, group home, nursing home or care center shows signs of neglect, abuse or bedsores, it is essential to take action. First, alert the attending physician, medical staff and director of the facility immediately. Be persistent, especially if the alerted individuals are slow to respond. Taking action is essential to minimize the potential of a loved one developing bedsores.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC at (800) 926-7565 are experienced in medical malpractice, neglect and abuse of the elderly and infirmed. Our attorneys are skilled in handling “failure to treat infection” cases. We can take immediate legal action to stop the abuse of a loved one being mistreated in a northeast Illinois medical facility. Every year, millions are awarded to injured clients suffering bedsores and sepsis infection in settlements and verdicts handed out across the nation.Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources