Sepsis is one of the biggest killers among hospital patients. Estimates suggest it accounts for between a third to a half of all patient deaths. Whatever you initially went into the hospital for, sepsis could mean you end up spending a lot more time there.
Sepsis is typically something you pick up while in hospital for something else. When an infection occurs, your body’s natural defenses go to work to try and beat the infection back. Sepsis is when they go overboard and start attacking other parts of your body, damaging tissues and organs. Even if it does not kill you, it can cause long-term damage.
Hospitals are under pressure to send people home. Yet they must ensure it is safe to do so. While some illnesses are over once they clear up, this is not true for sepsis – 40% of those discharged end up back in the hospital within three months. Only this time, they are weaker than before, so even more at risk.
Can hospitals prevent all cases of sepsis?
Like any disease, sepsis will happen. Yet hospitals could avoid many cases. Hospital staff must do all they can to prevent infections that lead to sepsis from occurring. They need to monitor patients for signs of sepsis and provide appropriate treatment. They should only release a patient when they are sure the sepsis has cleared up, and they must give people adequate information to spot signs of a recurrence.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sepsis after time in a hospital, you may want to help to evaluate if hospital staff did all they could or if someone was guilty of medical negligence.