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A surgical error could lead to sepsis or septic shock

Sepsis is a potentially life threatening condition that ordinarily arises out of an infection. Your infection doesn't have to be serious for this condition to occur. In fact, you may not even realize you have an infection before it turns into sepsis.

However, if you underwent a surgical procedure, your doctor and the other medical personnel responsible for your post-operative care should have recognized that you contracted an infection. Had it been dealt with in a timely manner, you may not have ended up even sicker. To make matters worse, if your doctor fails to notice that you have sepsis, it could progress into the more serious and dangerous condition called septic shock.

Surgery is a common path to sepsis

When you undergo a surgical procedure, your body's immune system automatically takes a hit. This leaves you susceptible to infection since the surgeon created an opening in your skin leading to areas of your body not designed to exposure to the outside world such as your organs. Bacteria can easily get into your body this way. Another way in which post-surgical infections occur is through a urinary tract infection, which occurs more easily after an operation.

If doctors fail to quickly diagnose and treat an infection, and it turns into sepsis, you could end up staying in the hospital longer than you wanted to, especially if it progresses into septic shock. The following symptoms could mean your initial infection and "regular" sepsis turned into this condition, which is much worse:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Altered mental status
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

As your ability to breathe on your own deteriorates, you will probably need a ventilator. Doctors may send you to the intensive care unit until your body begins to respond to treatment. In addition to help breathing, you will more than likely need plenty of antibiotics, medications to keep your blood pressure normal and lots of intravenous fluids. You have a 60 percent chance of surviving at this point -- all because you contracted an undiagnosed infection from your surgery.

After you leave the hospital

You probably feel lucky to be alive and grateful to your doctors for it. However, you must remember that you ended up in that position due to some sort of error associated with your surgical care. You may want to investigate what happened during your Ohio hospital stay more closely since you could have a case for medical malpractice depending on what is discovered.

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