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Sepsis doesn’t have to happen to nursing home residents

Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition. Commonly referred to as a “blood infection,” sepsis is actually an extreme immunological response to an infection somewhere in the body. As the victim’s body tries to fight off the infection, chemicals in their bloodstream trigger an out-of-control response that can ultimately lead to septic shock and death.

Sepsis is extremely common among older people, especially in nursing homes. Roughly 25,000 nursing home residents die every year after finally being transferred to hospitals for sepsis — and thousands more suffer organ damage, amputations and the mind-altering effects of post-septic syndrome.

Sepsis can rob a senior of their remaining years and accelerate their mental and physical decline in horrible ways. The worst part, however, is that sepsis is often preventable. Even when it’s not, early detection and treatment is the best way to have a positive outcome in a case. Far too often, transfer to a hospital is a “last resort” instead of something that is done proactively.

Why is sepsis such a danger in nursing homes? The majority of nursing homes are understaffed. The lack of staffing leads them to fail at basic preventive measures, like turning immobile patients often enough to prevent bedsores and monitoring patients with urinary tract infections and other minor infections carefully for signs of trouble.

If your loved one in a nursing home died of sepsis or suffered serious injuries from septic shock, you shouldn’t accept the notion that the condition is just something that “happens” to older people. It’s time to ask questions. An attorney with experience in nursing home abuse and neglect can help you get answers.

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