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CDC: Failure to diagnose sepsis quickly could result in death

Jan 16, 2018 | Failure to Diagnose

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning residents of New York and other states that sepsis can be a fatal condition. Sepsis occurs when the body’s natural defenses against infection cause an extreme inflammatory response.

Doctor misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis may allow sepsis to turn into septic shock, which could be an acutely life-threatening combination of tissue damage and organ failure. Delayed treatment may result from a doctor’s failure to diagnose or take appropriate notice of a worsened condition.

The recent death of a 26-year-old woman who went to the hospital suspecting a case of the flu highlighted the danger of sepsis in medical facilities. Although an alarming 20 percent of cases are contracting during a hospital stay, perhaps even more disturbing is the finding that 70 percent of people who suffer from sepsis had recently used some kind of health care service or were sufferers of a long-lasting medical condition.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Freiden, who nearly lost his son to sepsis, emphasized that the condition — symptoms of which include extreme pain, clamminess, disorientation, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat — is a medical emergency that requires early recognition by patients, families and medical professionals. Since an inattentive or negligent physician may fail to connect the dots of sepsis symptoms, those around the sufferer must be vigilant to avoid misread test results or other potential malpractice.

If a doctor failed to notice symptoms of sepsis, cancer or another life-threatening illness, an attorney could provide legal representation to the victim. The lawyer could help obtain a settlement that covers medical costs and related damages.