Sepsis a common sign of medical malpractice and nursing home neglect in South Florida

More than 540 people a day die from an infectious complication often linked to medical malpractice yet few have every heard of sepsis, the New York Times reported.

Whether medical malpractice in Fort Lauderdale or nursing home neglect in Boca Raton, sepsis is a killer — it develops when the body’s immune system spins out of control in response to infection and it is responsible for more than 200,000 deaths a year.

That’s six time more than the 34,000 people a year that die in car accidents, yet 3 of 5 Americans were unfamiliar with the term when polled for a recent study. Among older adults, who are at the greatest risk, even fewer were familiar with this often fatal medical complication.

Sepsis is often the result of a lack of sterility in medical equipment or poor hygiene among patients or hospital or nursing home environments. It can quickly become life-threatening if not identified early and treated aggressively, something that is also the responsibility of medical staff and hospital staff.

Early symptoms include confusion, abnormal body temperature, chills, low blood pressure, rash and rapid heart rate. Health and safety advocates say raising awareness of the early warning signs is critical so that patients can do a better job of self-diagnosing, in much the same way many are able to do when it comes to the early warning signs of a heart attack.

We would like to count on hospitals and nursing homes to do a better job of preventing infections. But unfortunately, as we reported earlier this year, hospital infections in South Florida are a leading cause of injury and death. Nationwide, hospital-acquired infections are blamed for more than 100,000 deaths per year