Can Sepsis Result in Multiple Organ Failure?
Posted on August 21, 2023 in Medical Malpractice
Sepsis is a dangerous condition that can quickly become life-threatening for individuals. Sepsis is defined as the body’s extreme reaction to an initial infection that starts in one location and spreads throughout the body. Infections that often lead to sepsis can start in the lungs, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and other areas. Without a quick response to sepsis, patients can deteriorate rapidly and could experience multiple organ failure. If you suffer sepsis due to the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional, a personal injury lawyer in Portland can help you assess your legal options.
What is Multiple Organ Failure?
According to information available from the Cleveland Clinic, organ failure means that one or more organs inside the body are failing to do their job adequately to meet the body’s needs. This can happen gradually or suddenly, and if one of a person’s vital organs fail, they will need immediate medical attention and possibly life support.
Multiple organ failure is exactly as it sounds – more than one organ in the body failing at the same time. Often, this happens as a cascade effect, as all the organs in the body handle functions ultimately related to one another. If the kidneys begin to fail, this can lead to failure of the liver, heart, or other organs. If the lungs fail, this can place incredible pressure on every other organ in the body that relies on positive oxygen flow.
The term organ failure is misleading because individuals often take this to mean that an organ is already dead. Organ failure actually means that an organ is not fully capable, at the current moment, of handling its job. Individuals who receive prompt medical care are often able to reverse organ failure and even the failure of multiple organs.
How Sepsis Can Cause Multiple Organ Failure
According to the Mayo Clinic, sepsis is a medical condition in which the body responds improperly to an infection. This can include an infection that begins at any part of the body. Sepsis can be caused by infections in the lungs, kidney, urinary system, digestive system, bloodstream, wounds, burns, and more. Individuals over the age of 65, those with lowered immune responses, and those with chronic diseases are more likely to be affected by sepsis than others.
As sepsis gets worse, or if an individual is unable to receive treatment or does not respond positively to treatment, it can affect vital organs. Sepsis can lead to these organs not receiving as much blood as they should, and it could lead to atypical blood clotting throughout the body. Sepsis can cause small clots or blood vessel bursts, and it can also destroy tissues.
Most people are able to recover from mild forms of sepsis, but the Mayo Clinic states that septic shock has a mortality rate of around 30% to 40%. Septic shock is the most severe stage of sepsis and can cause extremely low blood pressure as well as organ failure.
One of the most challenging aspects of a dual diagnosis of organ failure and sepsis is treating both of these issues at the same time. Medical professionals will have to not only deal with the initial infection and the sepsis throughout the body, but they also have to maintain life support in order to reverse the organ failure, if that is possible at all.