My loved one died of sepsis at a nursing home- Do I have a claim?
Nursing Home Abuse

Yes. If your loved one died from sepsis, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home for wrongful death. This lawsuit is typically brought by the spouse or children of the deceased resident, as well as the resident’s estate. If liable, the nursing home will be required to compensate the resident’s family and Estate for the value of life, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s abnormal reaction to an infection. Sepsis itself is not an infection. When germs or viruses invade the body, the body releases certain chemicals into the bloodstream to attack and defend itself. Sepsis occurs when those chemicals cause inflammation of the vessels and impaired blood flow. Without necessary nutrients and oxygen, as well as the presence of the underlying infection, the body suffers critical organ and system damage. Once this happens, the resident is septic. 

Sepsis statistics

Nursing homes can be liable if they failed to recognize the signs of sepsis in a timely manner

How is a nursing home responsible for sepsis?

Typically, a nursing home may be liable for sepsis if staff negligently caused the underlying infection or if staff failed to recognize the signs of sepsis in a timely manner.

Nursing home must take reasonable measures to prevent infections in residents, particularly UTIs, pneumonia, and those arising from pressure ulcers.

If a nursing home resident remains in one position for a long time without movement, they can develop pressure ulcers, or bedsores, which may lead to infection and eventually cause sepsis. Nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent pressure ulcers by helping their residents move around and reposition themselves.

Similarly, if a nursing home is careless with IVs, catheters, or other medical instruments, a patient can develop sepsis. Failing to clean either the instruments or the insertion site in the skin constitute nursing home neglect, as they can lead to life-threatening infections.

Additionally, nursing home residents with compromised immune systems should steer clear of people who are sick, which might include caregivers, other residents, and visitors to the nursing home. If a nursing home fails to protect its residents from the risk of infection, it could be liable for neglect.

Nursing homes have a legal duty to use reasonable care to prevent sepsis and other infections from developing in their patients. Facilities should prevent infection by fostering sanitary conditions, cleaning insertion sites and medical equipment, keeping their residents as active as possible, and keeping them away from germs.

If a nursing home fails to take these precautions, and a resident develops sepsis, then that facility may be liable for the consequences. This means that the nursing home may be responsible for medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering.

Sepsis Symptoms

Nursing home staff should be trained to recognize the signs of sepsis in residents.

How does sepsis lead to septic shock?

Sepsis occurs in stages. Each stage has its own set of symptoms and conditions.

  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: The body’s inflammatory response.
  • Sepsis: SIRS as a result of a confirmed or suspected infection.
  • Severe Sepsis: Sepsis that leads to organ dysfunction.
  • Septic Shock: Sepsis that has lead to massive system dysfunction

Septic shock is extremely dangerous. The chances of death increase to over 50% once a septic resident reaches the stage of septic shock.

How do I file a lawsuit against a nursing home for sepsis?

In Georgia, a lawsuit against a nursing home for causing sepsis and death consists of two claims: Wrongful Death and the Estate claims for personal injury.

  • Wrongful Death: This claim is almost always brought by the spouse or the children of the deceased resident. Compensation is based on the value of life “from the perspective of the resident.”
  • Estate Claim: This claim is brought by the representative of the resident’s Estate. Compensation is based on the amount of medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering caused by the sepsis or infection.

If your loved one died of sepsis at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are wondering if you have a claim, please feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers today. Our consultations are always free. If you would like more information about this topic, be sure to click on our other videos, or better yet, click the subscribe button to subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thank you.