Nursing home residents disproportionately suffer from sepsis, a condition that results in multiple organ failure and death. It caused by the body’s overreaction to bacterial infection.
Now, a doctor reports he has identified a possible treatment for the deadly condition, which kills 300,000 people in the U.S. annually – a significant number of those nursing home residents who received poor care.
According to NPR, it started early last year in Virginia. An emergency room doctor treated a woman in her late 40s who was suffering from sepsis. It was a severe case. Her kidneys weren’t functioning, and neither were lungs. The doctor honestly did not expect her to survive the night. It was one of those cases where any last ditch effort was welcome. He had heard of an obscure studies in which doctors at a local university had treated patients with some success by giving Vitamin C intravenously.
The doctor decided to do this, and added to it a cocktail of steroids and thiamine, another vitamin. Even so, he expected to report to work the next day and learn the woman had died.
But she did not die. In fact, not only was she still alive, she was well on her way to recovery.
The physician was stunned. But there are often so many factors that can influence the outcome in an individual case. He tried it again with his next patient who suffered from sepsis. It worked. By the time he treated 50 patients with this mixture and noted the same positive results in each case, he decided to write a research paper, which was recently published in the medical journal Chest.
The doctor reported that four of those patients died, but those four individuals died in the hospital from other conditions not related to the sepsis. As a comparison, he noted the 47 patients he had treated for sepsis in the local emergency room prior to using this treatment. Among those cases, 19 people died. That’s a significant drop.
Even since that writing, the physician has treated a total of 150 people for sepsis using this Vitamin C cocktail, and only one has died from sepsis.
The doctor noted that more research may be warranted, but he will no longer treat his sepsis patients with any other method. Other doctors commenting to NPR said that if these results pan out, these findings are an “unbelievably huge deal.”
That is especially true for nursing home patients.
A review of Medicare data by the Health and Human Services Office’s inspector general in 2013 revealed septicemia was by a huge margin the most common reason residents were treated at hospitals. The cost to care for those individuals in hospitals was approximately $3 billion. These losses could be substantially improved with better care at nursing homes.
Nursing home neglect is one of the prime reasons nursing home patients develop septicemia. Caregivers who don’t use proper measures to control infection can make them more prone to infection in the first place. Beyond that if nursing home staffers do not promptly catch the infection, it can rapidly worsen. For someone who is elderly and may have other underlying conditions, this can quickly prove fatal.
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect leading to sepsis in Orlando, we can help.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment For Deadly Sepsis, March 23, 2017, By Richard Harris, NPR
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U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh Nursing Home Arbitration, March 29, 2017, Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Blog