For World Sepsis Day, Save a Life

Sepsis is not only a medical emergency but also a global health crisis, affecting up to 30 million people a year:

According to the CDC, each year in the U.S., more than 1.5 million Americans will develop sepsis and at least 250,000 Americans will die from sepsis. Moreover, it is estimated by the Sepsis Alliance that the costs related to sepsis are about $27 billion annually:

Sepsis has been named as the most expensive in-patient cost in American hospitals in 2014 averaging more than $18,000 per hospital stay. With over 1.5 million sepsis hospital stays in 2014 per year, that works out to costs of $27 billion each year. Studies investigating survival have reported slightly different numbers, but it appears that on average, approximately 30% of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive. Up to 50% of survivors suffer from post-sepsis syndrome.

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety urges clinicians to commit to the early detection and treatment of sepsis. This sentiment is best said by Dr. Ken Rothfield, who is the Chief Medical Officer at Medical City Dallas, which is operated by the Hospital Corporation of America. Dr. Rothfield is also a member of PPAHS’s board of advisors. In a video in which Dr. Rothfield discusses how he developed sepsis following hernia surgery, he urges his fellow clinicians to commit to early detection and treatment of sepsis:

I would like you to commit to early detection and treatment of sepsis, because you may not get a second chance to save your patient’s life.

But, first, you have to know when your patient is suffering from sepsis. You must know at the earliest possible time when sepsis is occurring. Clinical studies show that mortality is significantly reduced if septic patients are identified at early stages of the disease process. In my own case, I was admitted on Thursday, by Friday I was septic, but it was not until Saturday that emergency surgery was performed which removed a section of gangrenous intestine. In my opinion, this can best be done through patient monitoring, which would have been able to provide early detection of my sepsis and I could have had earlier intervention.

Monitoring a patient’s heart rate and respiratory rate allows clinicians to detect changes over time while supporting hospital protocols for early detection of sepsis. Although nursing assessments taken every few hours may detect sepsis, patient monitoring can alert you at the earliest possible moment when sepsis is developing.

To watch the video with Dr. Rothfield, please click here.


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