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Sepsis and a Wrongful Death Case

Mar 14, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Patient Dies Due to Sepsis

A woman involved in a house fire suffered breathing difficulties and was unable to eat through her mouth. The hospital had a feeding tube inserted in her neck, which worked fine initially, but it was clogged after a couple of days. The doctors had to take out the feeding tube, clean it, and reinsert it into her throat. However, there was a problem, as the condition of the woman deteriorated rapidly.

The doctors were unable to find the cause why she was getting sicker, until one doctor figured out she could have a massive infection called sepsis. The antibiotics given by the doctors for her sepsis do not work and they keep changing the medication. However, none of the medications work, and the woman eventually dies due to the sepsis.

What Questions Attorney is Likely to Ask

When the son was informed of his mother’s death, the medical examiner who did the autopsy, told him that the cause of death was sepsis. The son did some online research on sepsis, which prompted him to consult a medical malpractice lawyer.

However, before the lawyer can help, he needs to know the answer to important questions:

· What happened?

· What according to the client was done wrong, which resulted in the injury?

· Did the incident happen in a private or municipal hospital?

· When did the victim suffer the injury?

In this case, the incident happened in a private hospital, and the lawyer will have to file a wrongful death case against the doctor or hospital. Additionally, he will have to check the amount of time he has left to file the case. This is because the statute of limitations for filing wrongful death case is 2 years in New York, from the date of death.

What Caused the Sepsis?

However, the main thing the lawyer has to find out is whether the doctor or hospital was responsible for the sepsis. Patients in hospitals acquire infections due to different reasons; however, there are three main reasons:

1. Risk factors related to the patient’s health

2. Organizational factors

3. Health practices and cleanliness in the treatment facility

In order to hold the hospital or doctor liable, the lawyer will have to show that there was medical negligence that led to the sepsis. It is not enough to establish simply the occurrence of sepsis, since the infection is possible due to a number of reasons. The lawyer will have to establish that the hospital or doctor violated the basic standards of medical care, and due to this negligence, the patient suffered a severe infection, which caused her death.

The victim’s attorney will have to present an expert qualified witness, who will explain to the jury the non-compliance of the doctor in regards to delivering basic standard medical care, or some unsafe practice that led to the patient contacting an infection and sepsis. The lawyer will ask questions to this medical expert, who will explain to the jury, the various risk factors, and then confirm the doctor’s negligence that led to the infection.