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Did your surgery put you at risk for sepsis?

Hearing that you needed surgery may have been daunting enough, but when your doctor described the potential risks associated with the procedure, you may have dismissed infection as a minor threat when compared to the others. Instead, you may have chosen to rely on the surgical team and those in charge of your post-operative care to manage the risk of infection.

If this turned out to be a mistake, your infection may have taken an ugly and threatening turn. When an infection goes unchecked, it can turn into sepsis, which is a serious and potentially life-threatening situation. Was there something that the medical professionals caring for you after your surgery could have done to prevent it? The probability is high.

Sepsis it not a primary infection

Sepsis arises from an untreated infection. You might even say that it is the body's response to an infection on steroids. Your body's natural response to an infection goes into overdrive and can quickly become deadly if not treated right away. The original infection could come from anywhere in the body. 

Sepsis resulting from a post-surgery infection

Your body may be at its most vulnerable during and after a surgical procedure. Your body's defenses may be down, and cutting into the body provides an avenue of entry for germs, bacteria and viruses into it. An infection can arise due to a urinary tract infection from a catheter, pneumonia after surgery, or at the site of the incision or opening in the skin.

The surgical team should take precautions to help ensure that the environment and instruments used during the procedure remain sterile to limit the potential for infection, and the medical staff caring for you afterward should take precautions as well, such as hand washing and keeping the room clean. They should also be looking for the following signs of an infection that could lead to sepsis:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Increasing pain around the surgical site
  • Increasing redness around the surgical site
  • Pus or other fluid coming from the surgical site
  • Warmer than usual skin around the surgical site

If one does not heed these warning signs of infections, you could end up with an infection that progresses into sepsis. The longer doctors fail to diagnose sepsis, the more harm you could face. Even surviving sepsis does not guarantee that your life will ever be the same again. You could suffer lifelong consequences.

Your rights and legal options

If you contracted sepsis after a surgical procedure, the odds are high that your medical team let you down. The only way to know for sure would involve seeking out a thorough review of your case. If appropriate, a medical malpractice claim may provide you with an avenue to pursue compensation for the harm done to you by those you trusted with your life.

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