Infections Left Untreated

A patient died of sepsis three months after having an aortic valve replaced by a New York cardiologist. The family of the decedent sued the cardiologist alleging that an infection was already present on the patient’s aortic valve when it was removed, however, because the cardiologist failed to read that pathology and failed to treat the infection, the patient developed severe sepsis which caused his death. The doctor contended the infection was the result of an independent postoperative incident rather than a finding of the pathology testing. However, the matter settled recently with the doctor agreeing to a 2 million dollar payout to the victim’s family. Sepsis is an immune response to a serious infection which encompasses the body and leads to organ failure. Broad spectrum antibiotics are recommended within 1 hour of making the diagnosis. For every hour delay in the administration there is an associated 6% rise in mortality. Duration of treatment is typically 7-10 days with the type of antibiotic used directed by the results of cultures. 

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