How Hospital Patients Can Develop Sepsis

A patient goes to the hospital to improve their health. Unfortunately, in some instances, a visit to the hospital can result in a patient developing a new health condition. This may happen when a doctor or member of the staff is careless. Sepsis is one particularly noteworthy example of a health issue that has been known to strike hospital patients.

Sepsis occurs when the body is responding to an infection. Typically, sepsis happens when the body responds to a bacterial infection, but it is technically possible for sepsis to happen if the body is responding to a viral infection as well.

Sepsis is often described as a “chain reaction” in the body that an infection can trigger. To fight an infection, the body may release chemicals that, rather than doing any good, actually restrict blood flow. This can deprive vital organs of oxygen.

Sepsis is a medical emergency that may result in death if left unaddressed. Victims often develop sepsis in hospitals and similar healthcare facilities. In these locations, infections or bacteria have various opportunities to enter the body.

Common causes of sepsis in medical care facilities include (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:

Urinary Tract Infections

Hospital patients may rely on catheters to drain urine from their bodies. When a catheter is inserted into the urethra, it can allow bacteria in, potentially causing a urinary tract infection that may trigger a dramatic response, leading to sepsis.


Infections and bacteria can enter the body at surgical sites. Because this may threaten a patient’s health in many ways, surgical teams must ensure they are using clean equipment. Patients who have undergone surgery that could theoretically leave them vulnerable to infection should also be monitored for a period of time after their operations to confirm they are not at risk.

Central Lines

A central line, also known as an intravenous (IV) line or catheter, may be inserted into veins in various parts of the body for various reasons. Depending on a patient’s needs, a central line may remain in place for days or even weeks. This results in a somewhat high risk of infection.

There are steps doctors and hospital staff members can take to reduce the chances of patients developing sepsis when in their care. Examples include:

  • Disinfecting and sterilizing equipment
  • Isolating patients when necessary
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Keeping the environment generally clean
  • Following all applicable disease-specific guidelines

Unfortunately, sometimes patients develop sepsis because those responsible for keeping them healthy are negligent.

Has this happened to you? Or, has a loved one passed away as a result of developing sepsis at a hospital or similar facility?

You may be eligible for compensation if so. Review your case with a qualified lawyer to discuss your legal options. At The Weitz Firm, LLC, a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney will explain whether you have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit in these circumstances. If you do, and you choose to hire us, our team will fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 267-587-6240.



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