In May of 2011, Ashanti Norals was just a simple, athletic girl who enjoyed life, when she entered the hospital for fever and an unexplainable pain in her right leg. Somehow, the doctors who attended to her did not address the obvious signs of infection she was going through and did not immediately administer antibiotics. When they finally did, it was too late, and Ashanti lost four limbs as a result of a botched sepsis diagnosis. Ashanti’s mother, Erica, filed a suit against the hospital and the five doctors involved in her care, and was able to settle for a total of $35 million damages one year after the suit was filed.
While Ashanti’s sepsis might have come from an infection resulting from a fall she recently suffered, sepsis may also be acquired while in hospital care. Medically speaking, sepsis is a condition wherein an overwhelming immune response to an infection causes inflammation in the body, leading to multiple organ failures and even death, if not treated immediately. Severe sepsis is the cause of death of over half a million Americans, and the major cause of death in emergency rooms. Sepsis may happen under a hospital acquired infection, which could be grounds for a malpractice suit, with the help of medical malpractice lawyers in NYC and elsewhere in the country.
How Infections like Sepsis are Acquired
Generally, patients face three risk factors in acquiring infections in a hospital, namely patient risk, organizational risk, and iatrogenic risk factors. A patient’s duration of stay, the severity of his complication, and the capacity of his immune system comprise patient risk factors; while the hospital’s general cleanliness, including its water system and HVAC, and the sterility of its medical equipment are organizational risk factors. Iatrogenic risk factors, meanwhile, involves the quality of care given by the healthcare providers, including their use of antibiotics and the frequency of hand washing.
In determining legal liabilities for injuries or death due to a hospital acquired infection and sepsis, courts require a thorough investigation on the matter, including specific circumstances on how the patient acquired it, why it wasn’t given immediate treatment, and how it could have been prevented.
A successful malpractice lawsuit from sepsis infection or death can be done with the help of trusted medical malpractice lawyers in NYC, such as those from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, who can help establish the liability of a hospital or a healthcare provider, through proper evidence gathering, and with the testimonies of qualified expert witnesses. It’s essential, however, to bring a medical malpractice claim to court as soon as possible.
(Source: Malpractice Liability for Infection Acquired in a Hospital, AllLaw)