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Posted Nov 18 2008 3:15pm 1 Comment

There is a surge of lawsuits involving infections, particularly the failure to recognize signs and symptoms of sepsis. Patients are dying and when the records are reviewed classic signs and symptoms of sepsis are shown in the records. Also remember that the elderly can present special problems when doing assessments and trying to determine the cause of their presentation.

Some of the signs and symptoms: Fever may be present or the patient may have a low body temperature; increased ventilation, confusion or altered mental status (this is causing a problem with the elderly because instead of recognizing sepsis, the health care provider assumes the confusion is due to old age or other mental illnesses), increased heart rate, decreased urine output, may have chills, shaking, rash. When these symptoms present, laboratory tests need to be conducted to protect the patient.

Remember that any changes in a patient's presentation requires a re-assessment and intervention and then documentation of those actions.

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I stumbled upon your post and just lost my mom to sepsis. She had a right hemicolectomy and passed away seven days later. She was 64. What would be the best approach to a doctor or hospital to review her file and see what should have been done. I don't want my mom to just be a sad statistic, but hopefully allow the doctors and staff learns from their mistakes. She was having confusion 3 days before sepsis was diagnosed and her BP was low the entire time post op even with the increase in pain from the surgery. Her o2 sat. started declining 2 days post op, had chest x-ray 3 days post op and saw fluid in the lower lobes,  and her urine output was slowing everyday to less that 400ml by 3 days post op on 250ml/hr bolus. When they finally said infection the day before she died, they reopened her, the anastomosis was open and a staple had separated and she was pus/fluid filled and surrounding organs were discolored. Dialysis was never mentioned, especially with the renal issues. What is your experience in this situation?

Thanks a million!!!


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