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Suing A Nursing Home for Sepsis

Colburn Law

When we trust a nursing home to care for our elderly loved ones, we expect the facility to treat them with respect and dignity. We certainly do not expect the nursing home to neglect their needs. Unfortunately, many facilities fail to properly care for their residents, leading to life-threatening medical emergencies like sepsis.

Sepsis occurs after an infection and can be life-threatening without medical care. If you or a loved one has developed sepsis due to the negligence of nursing home staff, you have the right to pursue a lawsuit against the facility.

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that can lead to organ damage and death without prompt treatment. This condition occurs after the body develops an infection and its infection-fighting capabilities start attacking its own tissues and organs. 

Symptoms of sepsis include the following:

  • Change in mental status
  • A respiratory rate equal to or higher than 22 breaths per minute
  • Systolic blood pressure less than or equal to 100 mm Hg

Any type of infection can lead to sepsis, including infections of the lungs, kidneys, bloodstream, and catheter sites. Older people and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of this life-threatening condition. 

The Prevalence of Sepsis in Nursing Homes

The Prevalence of Sepsis in Nursing Homes

Sepsis often develops in people who are hospitalized, but it can occur among nursing home residents as well. Many nursing homes fail to properly care for their residents, leading to pressure or bed sores, open wounds, and untreated infections.

When nursing home patients come home from the hospital, for example, they may have an open wound that requires regular cleaning and care. It is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to provide that care and monitor for signs of infection. If a staff member neglects his or her duties, the resident’s wound can become infected and lead to sepsis.

Additionally, many nursing home residents develop painful open wounds known as bed sores. These ulcers develop when a person has lain in bed or sat in a wheelchair for a prolonged period of time, and can become seriously infected without treatment. 

Nursing home staff members are trained to monitor for these sores and move their residents so that they do not develop. Unfortunately, neglect can lead to a resident sitting or lying in one position for a very long time—sometimes days or even weeks. Serious bedsores can trigger infections that lead to sepsis.

Filing a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Facility

Nursing homes have a duty to properly care for their residents. This means that they must provide residents with the medical care that they require. If you or a loved one developed sepsis due to the negligent actions of nursing home staff, you have the right to pursue legal action.

By filing a lawsuit against the nursing home, you or your loved one can recover compensatory damages to pay for the injuries that you suffered. You can recover damages for the following losses:

  • Past and future medical care
  • Lost wages, if applicable
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability accommodations
  • Funeral and burial expenses, if death occurred as a result

However, you will need to prove that the nursing home’s negligence caused the sepsis to occur. In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can investigate your case, gather relevant evidence, and craft a compelling claim in your favor. Contact a Washington nursing home lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your eligibility for a sepsis lawsuit.