The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study about patients presenting to hospitals in septic shock. Septic shock occurs when the body's defenses are overwhelmed by an infection that has spread to the patient's blood. Infections that turn into septic shock can start anywhere in the body. An additional complication that can occur from a blood born infection is necrotizing fasciitis, which is where the infection spreads rapidly to destroy tissue in the patient's body.
Time is of the essence when the infection spreads from its original location to the blood. The earlier a patient gets treatment, the better their outcome. This is because when the immune system is overwhelmed, tiny blood clots form in the patient's blood stream, which can choke off nutrients and oxygen to the patient's vital organs. This causes a drop in blood pressure and also allows for even faster spread of the infection. People that present to the emergency room in septic shock are very ill and all steps possible must be taken to save their lives.
Numerous studies demonstrated three important steps are necessary to try to save the lives of septic shock patients. First, the emergency department team must recognize the patient is in septic shock. Symptoms of septic shock include low blood pressure, discolored skin, low urine output, confusion, breathing problems, chills, and/or weakness. The emergency department should run tests to help evaluate whether a patient is in septic shock.
Then, the emergency department team must administer aggressive intravenous antibiotics. Broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is necessary until the hospital can determine which type of bacteria is causing the infection. Then, antibiotics can be tailored to fight that specific bug. Finally, the emergency department will administer fluids and medications called vasopressors to maintain the patient's blood pressure. It is vital that the patient's blood pressure be maintained so that their vital organs get enough oxygen.
The goal of any health care provider should be to stop an infection before it becomes life threatening. The lawyers at Kinerk, Schmidt and Sethi, PLLC are handling several cases of septic shock and necrotizing fasciitis that evolved from a wide variety of sources, including the reproductive system and an abscess. In these cases, the issue is whether the health care provider reasonably identified and treated the patient's infection so to prevent the patient from developing septic shock and necrotizing fasciitis.
In these cases, our team of medical experts include emergency department, primary care, surgeons, and infectious disease doctors analyze and determine whether a patient's infection should have been treated differently so to prevent the spread of the infection and the development of septic shock and necrotizing infection.