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How to identify a case of sepsis after a surgical procedure

You knew before you went into surgery that one of the risks was infection. You expected the medical staff surrounding you to watch for the signs. If you did contract an infection, you expected them to identify and treat it quickly.

If that didn't happen, you may experience other symptoms. These warning signs could mean that you now suffer from sepsis, which if left unchecked could threaten your life.

What to watch for

If your condition doesn't seem to improve after your doctors sent you home, you could have an infection. Distinguishing it from sepsis may be difficult at first. Look for the following signs that may indicate you have an infection -- or sepsis:

  • You may or may not know that you have an infection if no outward signs exist, so you need to look for other signs such as fever, pain or fatigue.
  • You need to monitor your temperature. Even if it goes down, that could represent a sign of sepsis since not everyone's temperature rises.
  • You could experience confusion, severe sleepiness or other signs of mental decline.
  • Like others who suffered from sepsis, you may feel the worst you ever have in your life.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you need to seek medical attention right away, especially after recently undergoing surgery. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the faster and better treatments may work. Otherwise, your condition will only continue to deteriorate to the point where you could lose your life, or at the very least, suffer lifelong health consequences.

What started you down this road?

How did your health get so out of control? You may be able to trace it back to your surgery. Somewhere along the way, medical personnel failed you. Some of the ways in which that might happen include the following:

  • Perhaps nurses and doctors failed to appropriately monitor you after the procedure.
  • Maybe someone forgot to wash their hands before changing your bandages.
  • The surfaces in your room may have been less than sterile.
  • The instruments used in your procedure may not have been sterile.

The fact is that any number of factors could have led to you suffering from sepsis. In order to know for sure, you may want a review of your medical records and care before, during and after your surgery. If it turns out that you received any less than the standard of care you deserved, legal action may be appropriate.

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