Sepsis is an infection in the bloodstream infection, with causes as innocuous as a bug bite or another kind of infection elsewhere in the body. Tragically, a third of all people to develop sepsis infections die, while those that survive suffer debilitating results that plague them for the rest of their lives.

Despite calls for hospital protocols, the fact is that deaths and serious consequences can be prevented in 30% of sepsis cases simply by administering a common blood test, claims Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group and the author of a recent article on

“[T]oo many doctors do too little, too late to treat sepsis…. Hospitals reward caution, even when it does more harm than good. Chiefs of Quality investigate doctors whose actions produce a complication. But they are less likely to single out individual physicians for not being aggressive, particularly when the indications are less certain… From this perspective, not ordering the test in the first place is the safest action – not for the patient, but for the physician.”

This “wait-and-see” approach costs lives, but as Dr. Pearl points out, is indicative of the culture of medicine in our country today.

To learn more about medical malpractice resulting from sepsis-related treatment errors, please visit the Hospital Infections page on our website.