Surviving Sepsis During the COVID Pandemic

Surviving Sepsis During the COVID Pandemic

Researchers have found that patients who were severely ill or who had died from COVID-19 had one of three factors;

  • Were older;
  • Had sepsis; or
  • Had blood clots.

Even before COVID-19, sepsis was considered a global health crisis:

However, now that Sepsis is the final common pathway to death from COVID-19 as well as most infectious diseases, it is even more critical that diagnosis and treatment for sepsis are made in an expeditious manner.

Moreover, a misdiagnosis of sepsis can be costly – googling “sepsis malpractice” results in about 590,000 results, mostly web pages from law firms trolling for clients. Newman-Toker et al, in research funded by the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, found that just three conditions account for 74.1% of all diagnostic error malpractice claims: 

  • cancer (37.8%)
  • vascular events (22.8%) 
  • infection (13.5%) – sepsis being the top source of infection. 

If you suspect sepsis, treat promptly:

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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