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Sepsis and spirit, part 2: coping with life-altering injuries

In part one of this post, we began discussing the very challenging medical condition known as sepsis.

As we explained, the mortality rate for people who suffer septic shock after the failure of major organ systems is about 50 percent.

In this post, however, we will take note of the case of an 11-year-old girl who not only survived septic shock, but has shown laudable spirit in doing so.

At school one day, the girl suffered what appeared to be a minor injury to her knee. But there were errors made in her treatment, particularly a delay in the administration of antibiotics. As a result, the girl experienced sepsis and gangrene set in. Eventually both of her arms and both of her legs had to be amputated.

Last year, the girl's family settled a medical malpractice case against the hospital that treated her. The settlement amount was $32 million.

The girl continues to receive press attention, however, because of the inspiring way she has responded to her life-altering injuries.

To be sure, she requires considerable care. This includes prosthetic limbs, special wheelchairs and a personal assistant paid for by the medical malpractice settlement money.

But the girl has been very proactive in adjusting to her new life. She has taken specialized swimming lessons and gym-class exercises targeted especially for amputees.

The girl's mother apparently has helped her to maintain a positive outlook on life despite the grievous injuries. Both mother and daughter are therefore to be commended for not becoming bitter, even as they asserted a claim for medical malpractice in the daughter's case.

Source: ABA Journal, "Girl gets $32M settlement in med-mal case over quaduple limb amputations," Martha Neil, Jan. 24, 2014

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