How do you get sepsis?

If you enter a hospital for treatment, you do not expect to leave with a life-threatening infection. Yet, around 1.7 million people get sepsis each year, and about 270,000 die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

You cannot contract sepsis by standing next to someone who has it or touching them. It comes from within the body. If you have an infection, your body releases chemicals to fight it. Sepsis is when the body releases too many chemicals, and it can result in organ failure and death.

While you might not know you have sepsis when you leave the hospital, that does not mean the hospital did not cause it. If you pick up an infection while there, it can cause sepsis once you have left.

Why might medical staff be at fault for sepsis?

If you wish to claim medical malpractice, you need to investigate how and when you got the original infection that led to sepsis. Here are some ways an infection could be the hospital’s fault:

  • Contaminated instruments: Hospital staff may put needles or a drip into your body. If they are unclean, it could cause infection.
  • A lack of good hygiene: Many infections pass from person to person. If a staff member is unwell, they could cough or sneeze and infect you. The same could happen if staff treat someone else with an infection and do not wash their hands properly before treating you.

Sepsis can kill in hours. Medical staff must be alert to its signs and symptoms so they can take action to stop it from harming you. If they failed to pick up on sepsis or caused you an infection that led to sepsis, you might be able to claim medical negligence. Learn more about your options so you can protect your future.