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What Are the Three Stages of Sepsis?

What Are the Three Stages of Sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts in response to an infection. Instead of fighting the infection, the immune system attacks normal body tissues and organs. This overwhelming, life-threatening response can lead to organ failure, tissue damage, and even death.

People age 65 and older are at particularly high risk for sepsis. Other risk factors include hospital stays, medical conditions such as immunodeficiency, diabetes, and cancer, as well as the use of catheters, IVs, or breathing tubes. All of these factors leave elderly nursing home residents especially vulnerable to sepsis.

If you believe you or your loved one suffered from sepsis due to nursing home abuse or neglect, the Peck Law Group may be able to help you recover damages. Call 866-999-9085 or fill out our online form for a free case evaluation.

Without early treatment, sepsis can quickly escalate. In general, sepsis can be divided into three stages: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock.

Infographic of human body where sepsis infects the organs including meningitis, skin or soft tissue, catheter related infection, urinary tract infections, pheumonia, bloodstream infection, and abdominal infections.

1) Sepsis

Early sepsis can be characterized by:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fever or low body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
  • Disorientation, confusion, or agitation
  • Shaking or chills
  • Clamminess or sweating
  • Skin rash

Even at this stage, sepsis is considered a medical emergency and needs immediate care. If caught early enough, treatment with antibiotics and IV fluids can increase the chance of survival. 

2) Severe sepsis

This stage begins when the sepsis causes organ malfunction. This is typically the result of low blood pressure due to inflammation throughout the body. Any organ may be affected, and the symptoms a person experiences will vary based on which organ or organs are affected. For example, if the kidneys are affected, there may be little to no urine output.

People with severe sepsis are typically treated in the intensive care unit (ICU). On average, three in 10 patients with severe sepsis die in the hospital.

3) Septic shock

Septic shock is marked by a severe drop in blood pressure that furthers damage to multiple organs. Even generous amounts of IV fluids are not enough to maintain a safe blood pressure for a patient in septic shock. Needing medication to maintain a safe blood pressure and having high levels of lactic acid in the blood are two signs that severe sepsis is progressing toward septic shock.

Without treatment, septic shock is nearly always fatal. In patients who receive treatment, the mortality rate is about 30% to 40%. Those who survive septic shock can take months or years to recover and have a higher risk of future infection.

Have you or a loved one suffered sepsis or septic shock due to nursing home abuse or neglect?

When nursing home staff don’t recognize or ignore signs of sepsis, the results can be deadly. If you or a loved one experienced long-term, permanent, or fatal effects of sepsis in a nursing home, you may be entitled to compensation.

As California’s most experienced nursing home abuse lawyers, the Peck Law Group attorneys are ready and willing to help you seek justice. Get started with a free case evaluation by calling 866-999-9085 or filling out our online form.

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney Steven Peck

About the Author

Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.

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