Most people are unaware of the dangers of sepsis, but in New York State alone, 43,608 severe cases of sepsis were recorded in 2011. This number represents a huge increase from the 6,001 cases in 2005. Sepsis mortality rates are comparable to well-known diseases like colon, lung and breast cancer. This increase in cases of sepsis is attributed mainly to doctor misdiagnosis.
For example, a 12-year-old boy died last year because of a misdiagnosis of his infection. The incident happened four days after the boy cut his arm playing basketball. The boy had a sore leg, blotchy skin and a high fever. The boy’s pediatrician misdiagnosed his symptoms as stomach flu. The boy was released from the hospital without undergoing a blood test for sepsis, which could have saved his life.
The new sepsis regulations, named “Rory’s Regulations,” are named after the boy. The new regulations are expected to take effect in New York this May. Rory’s Regulations will require hospitals to administer fluid revitalization and antibiotic treatment within an hour of sepsis diagnosis. Also, a full implementation of sepsis protocol, fluid revitalization and antibiotic treatment is to be administered within an hour of severe sepsis. For septic shock, it is required within the first six hours.
Early detection and immediate treatment is vital in the treatment of sepsis. A heavy dose of antibiotics can counteract and stop the infection. However, if sepsis is not tested for and diagnosed early, results can be fatal.
People who have experienced misdiagnoses know the pain and suffering it can bring. Additionally, misdiagnosis can create increased and unnecessary expense for the victim. Moreover, one also has to face the possibility of a worsening disease since some diseases, like sepsis, require early detection for maximized recovery.
While lobbying for new laws and protocols is commendable, results can take a considerable amount of time. A legal professional can help people who suspect misdiagnosis or medical malpractice and can help determine whether victims are eligible for compensation for medical bills and any loss of earnings or other damages.
Source: Healthexecnews.com, “State requires hospitals to adopt new sepsis protocols,” Feb. 13, 2013