Misdiagnosed Sepsis Can Turn Deadly

We have handled many, many sepsis cases

The worst thing any parent can picture is losing their child to a medical misdiagnosis. For one family though, this is exactly what happened after their 12-year-old daughter died after an urgent care facility misdiagnosed her with the flu. Just days after this misdiagnosis, the girl passed away due not to influenza – but to sepsis.

But just what is sepsis? How common is it? And how did a doctor mistake sepsis for the flu?

Sepsis more common than many realize

According to one critical care physician, sepsis is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that sepsis claims the life of 250,000 people per year.

Sepsis itself is not an infection, but is rather what happens when an infection is left untreated. Basically, germs enter the body and cause either illness, disease or damage to tissue or organs. If this continues to spread, you have sepsis.

The symptoms of sepsis can be mistaken for the flu, such as fever or shivering. Other symptoms include pain, a high heart rate or confusion and disorientation – to name a few. However, not everyone with sepsis experiences the same symptoms and patients do not necessarily experience all the possible symptoms either.

When it comes to the flu, many doctors will diagnose not using an actual test, but will rather rely on a person’s symptoms. This said, there are diagnostic tests available for influenza, but these tests are not always accurate and not all clinicians will use them.

Preventing sepsis misdiagnosis

As trained clinicians, doctors need to be on the lookout for sepsis. This means understanding the risk factors – such as being very young or old, having wounds or other injuries or having a compromised immune system – but also realizing that people are still at risk, even if they don’t fall under one of these categories. Sepsis can end up affecting anyone, not just the people deemed more at risk. Many of our clients or their families knew their symptoms were being ignored. We will make sure your loved one’s pain in life or death from negligence is never ignored again.