Why sepsis is difficult to diagnose

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2016 | Failure To Diagnose

Some New Mexico residents may have a disease that they and their doctors cannot pinpoint, and it has affected people around the country. In New York, a 12-year-old boy fell in gym class and cut his arm. Hours later, he started to vomit and complained of leg pain in addition to developing a fever. The next day, his pediatrician advised his parents that the leg pain could have been from the fall and the other symptoms were likely the result of a stomach virus.

The child was also taken to an emergency department where he was given fluids and had some blood work done before being sent home. However, the boy’s symptoms got worse, and he was later diagnosed with septic shock. The septic shock was contributing to organ failure, and the boy died four days after his fall. He was one of the roughly 250,000 people who die each year from sepsis in the United States.

There are several reasons why people may die of sepsis. It is not well known among the general population, and it is difficult to identity in its early stages because there is no test for it. Symptoms such as fever and chills may be confused for other medical conditions. However, there is a push for greater education about sepsis, which may make it easier to identify and prevent.

A failure to diagnose a disease can result in a worsened medical condition and other harm for an affected patient. In order to be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit, it will have to be demonstrated that such error was due to a failure of the health care practitioner or facility to exhibit the requisite standard of care, and an attorney for a plaintiff will attempt to do so by, among other things, obtaining the opinions of medical experts.


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