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Surgery Infection

An infection that develops after surgery must be diagnosed and treated quickly. Otherwise it could lead to serious complications, including sepsis a potentially deadly condition which happens when the body reacts to an infection.

Infection after surgery

Surgery leaves the body vulnerable to infection. There are two primary reasons for this:

Firstly the skin, which is a natural barrier against bacteria, will be cut open. The surgical incision provides an opportunity for bacteria to enter the body and start and infection. Infections that arise in the surgical wound are called 'Surgical Site Infections', which can be abbreviated to 'SSIs'.

Secondly, surgery and other medical treatments can weaken the body, causing a degree of dysfunction. This makes it more likely that an infection will occur inside the body. For example, many patients will not be able to breathe deeply after an operation. This can lead to pneumonia. Alternatively a patient may not be able to fully empty their bladder, causing a urinary tract infection.

Surgery infection and sepsis

If an infection after surgery is not promptly diagnosed and treated, the body may trigger its own response. This is very dangerous as the immune system goes into overdrive, prompting widespread clotting and inflammation. When the body responds to an infection in this way, the patient is said to have sepsis.

Sepsis is a very serious condition and is responsible for 37,000 deaths in the UK every year. It will cause symptoms such as breathlessness, fever, confusion and minimal urine output. It requires immediate treatment to prevent a patient going into septic shock, where the blood pressure drops dramatically. Septic shock will quickly lead to multi-system organ failure and possibly death.

Death from infection after surgery

Medical practitioners should be aware of the risks of infection after surgery. It is a known complication of even routine procedures. If a surgical patient begins to show any sign of deterioration, clinicians should act with caution and investigation the issue further. Infections can progress to sepsis very rapidly, so delays must be avoided.

If a patient suffers complications because of delays in the diagnosis and management of a surgery infection, the standard of care will be unacceptable. The patient or their family will be legally entitled to take legal action against the practitioner or hospital at fault.

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To talk to a solicitor about suing a hospital for an infection after surgery, please contact us at Glynns Solicitors.

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