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How sepsis can lead to amputation

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Diagnosis Errors

Sepsis is the most common, preventable life-threatening complication that affects many people. It occurs when the body’s immune system reacts to an infection. Unfortunately, this complication is sometimes confused with other conditions.

Doctors are supposed to treat the infection with antivirals, antibiotics and antifungals. However, when the diagnosis is delayed, the infection progresses, leading to sepsis. But how does sepsis lead to amputation?

How sepsis causes amputation

There are two ways in which sepsis can result in amputation. 

  1. The bacteria from the infection can cause damage to the body tissues, which in turn poisons the body and its extremities. This can result in conditions such as gangrene. This condition will turn the healthy tissues necrotic. 
  2. Sepsis or blood poisoning affects oxygen distribution in the body. When the body experiences sepsis, the blood is usually heavily dosed with bacteria or foreign matter. This means the body’s extremities will lack oxygen to work with. And together with the poisonous nature of the infections, irreversible tissue damage will occur. 

If the infection is left to progress, tissues will sustain immense and irreversible damage. That said, amputation becomes the only way for doctors to save the patient’s life. Also, if left untreated, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure.

The initial symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Fast breathing
  • Shivering and chills
  • High or low temperatures
  • Increased heart rate

These symptoms are pretty standard with many illnesses. However, you should be careful, especially when you notice the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Excessive muscle pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Unclear speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Discolored or pale skin

These symptoms may indicate you’re developing septic shock.

Sepsis can have long-term effects on an individual, especially when it leads to amputation. Therefore, early diagnosis is crucial in preventing such complications. Unfortunately, doctors don’t always spot sepsis in time to prevent amputations, and that may be a sign of negligence. If you believe that you or your loved one suffered an unnecessary amputation, it may be time to seek legal guidance. 


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