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Hospitals aim to combat sepsis in children

When New York children have sepsis, their health could deteriorate rapidly. Symptoms could include pain throughout the body, a quick drop in blood pressure and organ failure. Each year, 75,000 children are hospitalized in the United States for sepsis, and about 7,000 children die each year from the condition, according to a study done in 2013.

Those who survive may face secondary problems with their organs or need to have limbs amputated. To combat sepsis, a group of hospitals is banding together to significantly reduce the number of diagnoses as well as the number of childhood deaths. The goal is a 75 percent reduction in both categories in participating hospitals by 2020. One way to do this is to screen patients who show any signs of possible sepsis and treat them with quick bursts of antibiotics and fluids.

The data will be shared among the 44 hospitals that currently participate in the program. This will hopefully help the coalition develop best practices to prevent sepsis from occurring. Other efforts include educating parents of cancer patients about the warning signs of sepsis. Cancer patients are especially vulnerable to infection, but any child can get it after scraping an elbow or experiencing a bug bite.

A failure to make a timely diagnosis of sepsis or other diseases can lead to a worsened medical condition in the affected patient, requiring additional and more aggressive medical treatment. Not every such error constitutes medical malpractice, however. An attorney representing a patient who has been harmed in this manner will need to show that the failure constituted a breach of the duty to provide a reasonable standard of care that is owed by the practitioner.

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