Articles Posted in Sepsis

Six days after undergoing hip replacement surgery and rehabilitation, Alice Underwood, 82, was admitted to Victor Valley Global Medical Center for treatment of a urinary tract infection and dehydration. She suffered a surgical site infection while she was hospitalized, which caused her incision to separate.

Underwood underwent surgery to remove necrotic tissue, after which she was sent to a rehabilitation facility. Twenty-six days later, she died of cardiopulmonary arrest and infection. Underwood was survived by her three adult daughters and a son.

The Underwood family, through a daughter, individually and on behalf of the Underwood estate, sued the hospital alleging it chose not to provide wound care to Underwood for 12 days during her hospitalization. The lawsuit also alleged that the hospital’s nurse negligently sent Underwood to the rehabilitation facility without the appropriate and necessary antibiotics.
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Lisa-Maria Carter, 45, was seen as an outpatient at Tampa General Hospital to remove an ovarian cyst. The staff physician, Dr. Larry Glazerman, performed a Hassan laparoscopic procedure aided by two resident physicians.

During the surgery, Dr. Glazerman transected Carter’s bowel. She was admitted to the patient floor several hours after the surgery. She experienced severe pain and abnormally low blood pressure. In addition, her incision opened, discharging a large amount of bloody fluid.

Carter’s condition continued to worsen until she was diagnosed as suffering from acute respiratory failure, hypotension, organ failure and sepsis.
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Ana Mejia, 35, was admitted to an undisclosed hospital to undergo a tubal ligation following the birth of her third child. The procedure was done by a doctor employed by the Public Health Service. Although she experienced postoperative bleeding and dizziness, she was discharged with a prescription for pain killers.

The next day, Mejia allegedly called her treating medical clinic, with the help of a friend, to report that she was experiencing high fever and significant pain. Her condition continued to deteriorate, and she was taken by ambulance to the hospital the next day.

Mejia went into septic shock, renal failure and other problems that required emergency surgery. Cultures from this surgery revealed Group A streptococcus and candida. Mejia was then taken to the ICU where she suffered cardiac arrest and several strokes.
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In this medical malpractice lawsuit, injuries were suffered by the plaintiff, Lisa Swift, during a 2010 laparoscopic hysterectomy by the defendant Dr. David J. Schleicher. During this surgical procedure, Dr. Schleicher perforated Swift’s small bowel with three through-and-through holes. The doctor chose not to diagnose the perforations until four days after the surgery. Swift developed sepsis, needed a bowel resection surgery and then suffered additional complications that required hospitalization and home health care.

In addition to Dr. Schleicher, Swedish American Health System Corp. and its related companies were also made defendants. These defendants admitted that they caused the injury but argued that the injuries were not the result of negligence. At the end of the jury trial, the jury agreed with defendants and found in favor of them and against Swift.

The plaintiff Swift filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied by the trial court. As a result, Swift took an appeal arguing that the trial judge committed reversible error by (1) allowing evidence that plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Robert Dein, caused a bowel injury in 1989; (2) allowed cumulative defense testimony; and (3) declined to find the verdict against the manifest weight of the evidence.
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According to a report in Modern Healthcare, the University of Colorado Health and its flagship hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, reduced the sepsis mortality rate by 15% in less than one year. In 2016, about 10% of patients with sepsis died from it. At the University of Colorado Hospital, officials conducted an internal study and found that some septic patients did not receive the needed antibiotics quickly enough. According to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), antibiotics should be given to patients with sepsis within three hours. The University of Colorado Health has found that patients regularly waited three hours or longer to get the needed antibiotic after sepsis was diagnosed.

At the University of Colorado Health, it was proven convincingly that if the patient receives antibiotics within an hour of the sepsis diagnosis, the sepsis death rate dropped by 50%. At the University of Colorado Hospital to reduce this response time, its officials developed a multi-step process that uses patients’ electronic medical records to identify patients who are at risk of sepsis. The electronic health records (EHR) monitors patients’ vital signs and alert a nurse of any abnormalities. The nurse then will check for other signs of sepsis and enter those symptoms into the EHR, which determines whether the patient has a low, medium or high probability of sepsis.

When patients are determined to have a medium or high probability of contracting sepsis, the hospital’s sepsis team, a group of caregivers made up of a nurse, pharmacist and a physician or advanced practitioner, who are dedicated to making quick sepsis diagnoses, are put into place. If the team determines that the patient is septic, antibiotics are immediately ordered and given. The prescription is marked as urgent to make sure that the pharmacist fills the order within the hour.
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