The Legal Landscape of Sepsis Cases: When Can You Sue for Negligence?

Microbiologist looking at sample to inspect for sepsis in patient

Sepsis is a painful, debilitating medical condition that can also upend your life immeasurably. If you have developed sepsis as a result of medical negligence, the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg, & Jeck, P.C. can help you demand the compensation you need to put your life back together. Trust us with your sepsis malpractice lawsuit. Our recent results include several multimillion-dollar medical malpractice cases. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency.

When a part of the body becomes infected, the immune system tries to fight it. Normally, the immune system keeps the infection local. However, with sepsis, the infection triggers widespread inflammation throughout the body.

Inflammation can be a natural part of the healing process. However, with massive inflammation from sepsis, blood clots can form, blocking oxygen flow. Multiple organs fail. This can lead to septic shock, disability, or death. A prompt diagnosis of sepsis is necessary to avoid these adverse health outcomes, along with immediate treatment.

How Can a Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help?

Handling a medical malpractice claim alone can be overwhelming – and unlikely to succeed. Hospitals have teams of powerful lawyers to protect them when patients exercise their legal right to seek financial recovery after they suffer harm because of the actions of a negligent healthcare provider, which can often have a chilling effect on the victims. Hiring an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Philadelphia can give you the dedicated guidance and advocacy you need to optimize your chances of winning your medical malpractice claim. A Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney can help you by:

  • Investigating the situation to determine how and why the medical negligence occurred
  • Proving medical malpractice caused sepsis with valuable evidence
  • Consulting with witnesses who specialize in sepsis
  • Calculating the full value of your losses, both current and future
  • Filing a sepsis lawsuit against the negligent medical provider

Causes of Sepsis

Many types of infections can lead to sepsis. Common causes include:

  • Bacterial infections in the lungs (pneumonia), bladder or kidneys (UTI), or skin
  • Viral infections like flu or COVID-19
  • Infections after surgery or from wounds
  • Bloodstream infections that spread to the blood from organs like the appendix, gallbladder, pancreas, or liver
  • Hospital-acquired infections

Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers can review your case and medical records to determine if you have a viable sepsis claim.

Risk Factors for Sepsis

Anyone can get sepsis. But there are people with a greater risk of developing sepsis, including:

  • Individuals with a weakened immune system
  • Infants
  • Older adults
  • People with chronic medical conditions like diabetes or cancer
  • Individuals who are receiving kidney dialysis
  • Individuals who have skin infections, surgical wounds, or open cuts

When patients have these risk factors or compromised immune systems, medical professionals should carefully monitor them for signs of sepsis.

Warning Signs of Sepsis

Prompt recognition of sepsis is vital to ensure the condition is properly diagnosed and the patient receive proper treatment. At first, someone with sepsis may feel ill with fever and pain from the infection. Common symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Elevated heart rate and breathing rate
  • A dangerous drop in blood pressure
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or discolored skin
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Kidney problems/less urination

These symptoms show sepsis is progressing rapidly. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. Without a prompt diagnosis and treatment, organ failure and even death can occur within hours.

How to Prove Medical Negligence in a Sepsis Case

Proving negligence in sepsis cases requires demonstrating that the care a patient received fell short of reasonable standards. Expert testimony is key to proving the following:

  • The standard of care – This is the type of care and diagnosis an average doctor would provide for the symptoms. Experts outline what diagnostic steps they or any other reasonably skilled medical professional would have taken under similar circumstances.
  • A breach of standard – By comparing the care the patient received to the standard of care, experts can pinpoint if and how a healthcare provider deviated from – or breached – that standard. For example, errors may include not ordering critical tests, misreading results, or failing to treat the condition aggressively.
  • Causation – Finally, medical experts explain how the breach directly caused sepsis complications to develop or worsen. They will highlight missed opportunities for earlier intervention.

In sum, with the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, medical experts can explain the improper care that led sepsis to needlessly advance. Their testimony is vital to win these complex cases. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg, & Jeck, P.C., we have a proven track record of working with world-renowned medical experts to secure significant financial recovery for our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn whether you might have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim based on sepsis.

Compensation Recoverable in Sepsis Cases

If all elements above are proven, plaintiffs may recover:

  • Medical expenses to treat the sepsis and resulting complications – This compensation includes all medical expenses from the initial sepsis diagnosis through treatments for any short or long-term complications caused by the sepsis. Bills from ER visits, hospital stays, medications, medical equipment use, lab work, and imaging services add up quickly for severe sepsis.
  • Loss of income and benefits while recovering from sepsis – Many sepsis survivors miss substantial time from work, especially with lengthy ICU and hospital stays. The lost wages during this time should be reimbursed.
  • Costs for medical equipment and home modifications – Depending on what disabilities or permanent injuries the sepsis caused, the victim may need the help of medical equipment like wheelchairs, hospital beds, grab bars, or mobility aids. Vehicle modifications like ramps for wheelchair access may also be required.
  • Payment for any permanent disabilities caused by the sepsis – The patient may seek compensation for lasting organ damage (kidney disease, liver damage, amputations, etc.), which can reduce earning capacity and quality of life.
  • Damages for pain, suffering, and emotional distressFinally, these damages account for the less tangible but no less important consequences of sepsis. These may include the pain the individual experienced, resulting mental health issues, and the inability to enjoy valued activities again due to sepsis complications.

Unlike some states, Pennsylvania places no caps on these compensatory damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. For failures leading to extended ICU stays, permanent organ damage, or even wrongful death, judgments often reach millions of dollars. A skilled sepsis claim attorney in Philadelphia can vigorously pursue the maximum compensation available in your case.

Contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg, & Jeck, P.C.

Healthcare negligence and sepsis often go hand in hand. While you might feel on the brink of despair after learning that your struggles with sepsis were preventable, it is important to remember that there may be legal remedies for sepsis misdiagnoses available to you. The experienced Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg, & Jeck, P.C. are ready to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how our experienced trial attorneys can help you.