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What You Need to Know About Sepsis-Related Medical Malpractice Claims

SepsisSepsis, also known as “blood poisoning,” is when your body’s immune system senses an infection and dangerously overreacts, causing tissue damage, organ failure, or even resulting in death. In the United States alone, sepsis accounts for more deaths than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and AIDS combined.

Approximately 30 to 50 percent of sepsis cases are fatal and more than half of all infectious disease cases also involved sepsis. Although victims can contract the illness through a variety of sources, it can be a strong indication or worsened by medical malpractice.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections in the lungs, kidney, skin, and gut are frequently sepsis-related. Symptoms include an elevated heart rate, decreased urine output, abdominal pain, drop in blood pressure, and a sharp drop in mental status.

A U.S. based organization known as the Sepsis Alliance created this mnemonic device to easily help patients and doctors remember the signs and symptoms of blood poisoning:

  • S - Shivering, fever over 101 degrees, feeling cold;
  • E - Extreme pain or discomfort;
  • P - Pale or discolored skin;
  • S - Sleepiness or difficulty waking;
  • I - “I feel like I might die”; and
  • S - Shortness of breath.
Patients at Increased Risk

Although anyone of any age and health status can acquire sepsis, a few patients are more susceptible to contraction. These groups include:

  • Individuals coming into the hospital with an existing infection;
  • Elderly patients over the age of 65;
  • Infants;
  • Weekend or immunocompromised patients;
  • Patients with open wounds; and
  • Patients with invasive medical devices.

If a doctor suspects sepsis, then he or she will run additional blood tests, x-rays, and CT scans, prescribe antibiotics, run intravenous fluids or even remove the problematic tissue. However, many of the symptoms also mimic other ailments, resulting in these misdiagnoses:

  • Urinary tract infection;
  • Staph infection;
  • Hypotension; or
  • Cystitis.
The Hospital’s Responsibilities

A doctor or health care professional owe his or her patients a standard of care to maintain a clean facility. If the staff neglected their duties in any way, and the patient sustained injuries as a result, both the hospital and the responsible parties may be held liable for the incurred costs. Sepsis spreads through:

  • Improper hand washing;
  • Uncleaned patient beds;
  • Surgical errors;
  • Failure in the water systems;
  • Improper post-operative care; and
  • Improperly sanitized equipment.
Find Out if You Are Entitled to Compensation

If you or a loved one contracted sepsis due to a hospital’s negligence, a California medical malpractice lawyer can help. Let the experienced attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. earn you the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (408) 289-1417 for a free case review.

Client Reviews
My experience with Attorney Brad Corsiglia during my recent medical malpractice case was nothing short of amazing given the very stressful circumstances. I was fortunate to find Brad highly recommended from a mutual contact and from the very beginning of the process, Brad was truly engaged and knowledgeable in understanding my case and providing input on what avenues were available to me. Michelle M.