Did your doctor fail to diagnose your sepsis?

People get infections every day in numerous ways. You could contract an infection from a surgical procedure, an accident or pneumonia. A case of the flu could become an infection under the right conditions.

In some people, an infection can turn ugly if not aggressively treated right away. Perhaps your doctor failed to diagnose your infection in time and before you realized what was happening to your body, you were in the emergency room feeling simply awful. The question is whether doctors will take the next step and determine whether your symptoms resulted from sepsis since they could easily be dismissed as something else.

How do doctors test for sepsis?

Sepsis is a dangerous reaction to an infection. Your body begins to turn on itself, and your condition could become life threatening. When doctors take the extra step and suspect sepsis, the following tests may confirm those suspicions:

  • Doctors may test for endotoxin, which should not be in your body. It indicates that you have an infection of some kind.
  • A complete blood count, or CBC, would identify an elevated white blood cell count, which would indicate an infection.
  • A urinalysis will tell doctors whether you have kidney stones, a urinary tract infection or some other infection.
  • Doctors may test for a protein in your blood called procalcitonin, which rises if you have an infection.
  • If you have inflammation due to an infection, your blood may contain a protein called c-reactive protein.
  • A SeptiCyte test determines whether sepsis-related genes activated in your body. It also looks for organ dysfunction and inflammation caused by an infection.
  • If your prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time are high and your platelets are low, you could have sepsis.

You may notice that these tests do not actually tell your doctor that you have sepsis, but they do indicate it. Doctors may perform other tests, but they look for specific infections, but not necessarily sepsis. If your doctor suspects you suffer from sepsis, he or she may order an aggressive treatment of antibiotics even before conducting any tests.

The longer you go without treatment for sepsis, the more severe and life threatening it becomes. If your doctor fails to diagnose and treat you, it could result in lifelong complications for you. More than likely, you would spend some time in the ICU as well. If you suspect that your doctor failed to provide you with the appropriate standard of care, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.

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