Sepsis From Bedsores

Sepsis from bedsores can be one of the most life-threatening yet avoidable conditions that cause death for nursing home residents. According to the Third International Consensus Definitions Task Force, sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, has a mortality rate of 30 to 50 percent.

There is simply no excuse for nursing home residents to develop bedsores. When an advanced stage bedsore leads to sepsis, the resident’s health and life are on the line. If someone you love is suffering from a bedsore, they may develop or already have sepsis.

The sooner you act, the better the outcome may be. Alert medical staff to your concerns and contact an experienced bedsores attorney for a case evaluation.

How is Sepsis Caused by Bedsores?

In a stage three or four bedsore, multiple layers of tissue can be involved including all layers of the skin, muscles, connective tissues, cartilage, joints, and even the bone. Nursing homes are inherently ridden with bacteria that can find its way into open wounds. If bacteria gets into the deep layers of tissue, it is not uncommon for the bacteria to travel into the bloodstream, causing sepsis in the bedsore victim.

Sepsis has the potential to cause multiple organ failure as well as a host of other complications and can leave an elderly person fighting for their life. Common signs of sepsis include:

  • Altered mental status
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • High fever
  • Sleepiness and fatigue
  • Low urine output
  • Facial flushing
  • Dizziness

Nursing Home Liability for Sepsis

All long-term care facilities have a legal and ethical duty to provide appropriate care for the residents entrusted to them. For some residents, this means bedsore prevention methods such as frequent turning in bed or repositioning, doing everything possible to keep the skin clean and dry, providing the appropriate nutrition and hydration, and taking measures to keep pressure off bony prominences.

If the nursing home and their staff fail to provide a level of care that treats and prevents bedsores they have breached their duty. Breaching their duty alone does not warrant a lawsuit. However, when that breach leads to the development of a bedsore or other related issues, a valid claim may exist.

To have the jury rule in favor of the plaintiff, the attorney for the plaintiff will need to show the jury that:

  • The nursing home’s breach of duty caused a bedsore, this is referred to as proximate cause; and
  • That bedsore caused damages for which the plaintiff deserves compensation

Claiming Compensatory Damages in Sepsis Cases

Compensatory damages for sepsis which developed from bed ulcers are designed to make the plaintiff whole again, or as close to whole as they were before developing the bedsore. They are meant to compensate the victim for their losses.

Some of these damages are easy to quantify such as hospital bills, pain medication, medical transportation, and wound care supplies. Other damages are difficult to determine a concrete value for, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. To be eligible to receive damages, plaintiffs must file their lawsuit within the two-year statute of limitations as set forth in Virginia Code § 8.01-243.

Legal Help is Available for Sepsis Caused by Bedsores

Sepsis from bedsores is a painful and life-threatening condition that no one should have to suffer from. The price tag for medical care for sepsis and bedsores can be more than $100,000 depending on its severity and the care needed. If a nursing home and its staff failed to prevent a bedsore or let it become so severe that it leads to sepsis, they may be liable for the damages they caused.

If your loved one has a bedsore and develops sepsis or you suspect they are developing sepsis, seek help from a qualified attorney today. Call for a case consultation to learn more.