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Bloodstream Infections

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on January 23, 2020

A bloodstream infection (BSI) is an infection where bacteria have entered your bloodstream and cause signs of infection throughout your body, including fevers, chills, and low blood pressure. Also called “blood poisoning,” BSIs can occur naturally, but most BSIs are secondary infections – meaning an infection in one part of your body spread into your bloodstream. Bloodstream infections can be very dangerous, and if not correctly treated, can lead to severe injury or death.

Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of BSI is an infection created by inadequate safety practices in a hospital. When a patient receives intravenous medication, any infection at the site of the IV can easily and quickly spread to the bloodstream – especially if the IV is in a primary artery. Hospital-induced BSIs can lead to extended medical stays and bills, as well as a significantly increased risk of injury and death.

Complications and symptoms of bloodstream infections

Bloodstream infections can have serious and life-threatening complications, including internal organ failure, inability to breathe, loss of consciousness, and more. Some of the common early symptoms of bloodstream infections are:

  • Fever and chills
  • Low temperature
  • Inability to urinate
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms (especially when they are unusual or stronger than usual), you must get to a doctor immediately. BSIs tend to spread and escalate rapidly, so any delay in getting treatment increases the risk of severe complications and death.

Causes of bloodstream infections

While BSIs can come from many sources, some of the most common are:

  • Arterial infection from an IV medication or other types of catheters in a hospital
  • Open wounds that are exposed to bacteria in the open air
  • Injuries (whether natural or surgical) that don’t have the bandage changed often enough
  • Abdominal infection
  • An infected insect bite
  • Dental extraction or infected teeth
  • Kidney or urinary tract infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Skin infections

Unfortunately, medical malpractice is a common source of BSIs. Any patient being treated for an illness or injury with a catheter in their body, especially in a primary artery (called a “central line”), is at risk of infection with even the smallest lapse in hygiene.

If you or a loved one contracted a BSI while at a hospital, it is important that you contact a lawyer right away to get it looked into with the appropriate specialists.

Why you might need a lawyer

If you or a loved one have contracted a bloodstream infection while in a hospital, you may have a case against a healthcare provider. Such infections can result in extended hospital stays, pain, discomfort, and, in some cases, death. While compensation can never replace the loss of time, life, and pain, it can lessen the burden and alleviate stress and worry. A good medical malpractice attorney can thoroughly review your case with the needed specialists and determine whether or not you have a case. If you do, you may be compensated for:

  • Medical bills (immediate and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Wrongful death
  • Loss of consortium (the loss of the comfort and company of a loved one)

If you or a loved one have been the victim of medical malpractice, call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (425) 228-3860 or toll-free at (888) 228-3860 for a free consultation. Our renowned Seattle personal injury attorneys are devoted to representing victims and helping them get the compensation they deserve and get back on their feet. Our attorneys are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and have the experience to take any case through settlement or trial if necessary.

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