Massachusetts attorneys, Bernard J. Hamill, Quincy

Sepsis - Septic Shock

Sepsis and Septic Shock are very serious medical conditions. They are infections. They are also called blood poisoning. Sepsis is an inflammatory condition known as "systemic inflammatory response syndrome" - "SIRS" that is caused by infection. In Nursing home settings open bed sores or pressure ulcers, especially advanced decubitus ulcers (stage 3 or 4) in the coccyx area are very susceptible to infection if not kept absolutely clean. Bed sore ulcers that become infected often result in sepsis and eventual death. Sepsis is a toxic wound.

Mortality rates of sepsis: According to published studies, "20–35%" of people with severe sepsis die and an even higher percentage of people in septic shock may die.

Sepsis is the second most frequent cause of death in non-coronary intensive care units.

Prompt screening and evaluation is critical: There are four screening criteria for "SIRS": (1) elevated heart rate,
(2) elevated respiratory rate or low PCO2, (3) elevated or low temperature, and (4) high or low white blood cell count. The four
systemic inflammatory response syndrome screening criteria should be used in evaluating patients' risk for sepsis, and if at two positive criteria are met, a physician's etreatment of sepsis is needed.

Several Federal Regulations are in place to prevent the spread of infection such as Sepsis:

§483.65 Infection Control
The facility must establish and maintain an Infection Control Program designed to provide a safe, sanitary and comfortable environment and to help prevent the development and transmission of disease and infection.
§483.65(a) Infection Control Program
The facility must establish an Infection Control Program under which it -
(1) Investigates, controls, and prevents infections in the facility;
(2) Decides what procedures, such as isolation, should be applied to an individual resident; and
(3) Maintains a record of incidents and corrective actions related to infections.

§483.65(b) Preventing Spread of Infection
(1) When the Infection Control Program determines that a resident needs isolation to prevent the spread of infection, the facility must isolate the resident.
(2) The facility must prohibit employees with a communicable disease or infected skin lesions from direct contact with residents or their food, if direct contact will transmit the disease.
(3) The facility must require staff to wash their hands after each direct resident contact for which hand washing is indicated by accepted professional practice.

§483.25(c) Pressure Sores
Based on the comprehensive Assessment of a resident, the facility must ensure that--
(1) A resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual's clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; and
(2) A resident having pressure sores receives necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing

Call us at 617-479-4300 if a loved one has been severly injured by a lack of care resulting in Sepsis or Septic Shock.

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