Chicago Infection & Sepsis Attorneys
Fighting back against negligent elder & nursing home care
Infection is one of the most common risks facing nursing home residents today. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated one to three million serious infections occur in U.S. nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities each year. Every year, as many as 380,000 patients and residents lose their lives as a result of these infections.
If your loved one developed a serious infection at a nursing home, it is important to consider whether negligence played a role. If the facility failed to provide a reasonable level of care, and this resulted in an infection that caused serious injury or death, this may provide grounds for a viable nursing home abuse lawsuit. Our Chicago infection and sepsis lawyers at Ferrell Young, LLC can investigate the matter to determine what caused the infection, whether it was properly treated, and whether the long-term care facility should be held accountable.
Our Chicago nursing home infection and sepsis attorneys can talk to you about your legal options and how to move forward. Contact us online or call us now for a free, confidential consultation. Se habla Español.
What factors lead to nursing home infections?
Elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities are at an increased risk of infection due to weakened immune systems, preexisting conditions, and the fact that they may be bedridden, may be unable to use the restroom on their own, and may have difficulty eating or drinking.
Proper nutrition, hygiene, and other simple steps can reduce the risk and spread of infection, but at some nursing homes, caregivers are negligent and fail to meet patients’ basic needs. Some facilities may have improper procedures in place to prevent, identify, and treat infections.
How does nursing home negligence cause sepsis or other infections?
Nursing homes have a responsibility to properly care for residents. When people living in a nursing facility develop serious infections, it’s often due to nursing home negligence. Examples include:
- Unsanitary nursing home conditions, including unwashed bedsheets and not bathing residents on a regular basis.
- Unsanitized medical equipment, including unsanitized needles, catheters and other medical devices often used in nursing homes.
- Nursing home staff members not regularly checking on residents to make sure they’re ok, especially if residents cannot move and are bedridden.
Not all infections are avoidable, especially in a nursing home setting where residents may have weak immune systems. But when infections do occur, the facility needs to take immediate action to stop the infection from getting worse.
Such examples might sound straightforward. But proving that nursing home negligence occurred can often be extremely difficult. That’s because nursing homes often deny doing anything wrong. This is why hiring a nursing home negligence lawyer is so important. An experienced attorney can gather evidence that proves that negligence caused an infection.
Common infections in nursing homes
Nursing home residents may be at risk of developing specific types of infections. These include:
- Influenza – Weakened immune systems and preexisting health conditions place seniors at risk of influenza. With elderly patients, it is not just “the flu.” Influenza can sweep through a nursing home if proper containment measures are not in place, with devastating consequences. It can develop into pneumonia and may even threaten the lives of already fragile patients.
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – This type of infection occurs when bacteria enter the body through an open wound. It may also be introduced through catheters or breathing tubes. MRSA is resistant to antibiotics and is spread by physical contact, making it a serious problem in nursing homes.
- Pneumonia – Immobility, diabetes, cardiopulmonary disease, and smaller lung capacity may place seniors at an increased risk of pneumonia, but its symptoms can be difficult to recognize in elderly patients. Nursing home caregivers must be vigilant about watching for signs and treating pneumonia as quickly as possible.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – Catheter use and dehydration can increase the risk of UTIs in elderly residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This bacterial infection can cause symptoms such as incontinence, confusion, worsening of dementia, and behavioral changes.
Infections can lead to serious problems on their own. If left untreated, complications can occur—such as sepsis.
What is sepsis?
Sepsis occurs when the body has an extreme response to an infection and turns on itself. The body begins to damage its own tissues, causing organs to function poorly and, potentially, fail. Additionally, sepsis may progress to what is known as “septic shock,” a dramatic drop in blood pressure that can lead to severe organ problems and even death.
Because anyone can develop sepsis, the statistics may be shocking. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- An estimated 1.7 million American adults experience sepsis annually
- Approximately 270,000 Americans die of sepsis every year
- 1 out of every 3 patients who die while hospitalized have sepsis
Sepsis commonly occurs in medical settings. Patients who are 65 or older and have chronic medical conditions, weakened immune systems, and/or have recently been very ill or hospitalized are especially at risk of developing sepsis. Invasive medical devices, such as breathing tubes and catheters, also increase the possibility of sepsis. It is no wonder, then, that nursing home patients find themselves especially vulnerable.
What should I do about a nursing home neglect infection?
If your loved one has an infection – and especially if they have sepsis – then you need to act quickly.
- See a doctor immediately. If necessary, go to the nearest emergency room. Sepsis and other life-threatening infections can have devastating consequences.
- Tell the nursing home about the infection. Put it in writing to create a record.
- Take pictures of anything that may have caused the infection. This can include unwashed bedsheets and unsanitary conditions.
- Contact the Illinois Department of Public Health. They investigate allegations of nursing home abuse or neglect in Illinois.
- Call a Chicago nursing home neglect lawyer at our law firm. We can answer your question and explain your legal rights.
Can I sue a nursing home for sepsis?
Yes. You have the right to file a sepsis infection lawsuit against a nursing home if their negligence caused your loved one to develop an infection. But it’s important to act quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it often becomes to find evidence. Physical evidence can easily be lost or destroyed. Witnesses may forget what they saw. That’s why it’s critical to act fast and hire a Chicago nursing home negligence lawyer as soon as possible.
Call our Chicago infection & sepsis lawyers
When neglect leads to infection at a nursing home, Ferrell Young, LLC is there to seek justice on behalf of victims. If your elderly loved one suffered serious harm or lost their life as a result of an infection or sepsis, we can investigate the matter to see whether you have a claim. We have fought for victims of elder abuse and neglect for years and are prepared to see how we can help you win your case and achieve justice.