Critical care staff at the trust have stepped up the fight against sepsis by providing every ward with its own sepsis box.
Launched to mark World Sepsis Day (13 September 2012), the boxes contain everything needed to deliver six crucial steps – known as the sepsis six – to patients within an hour of staff identifying the deadly disease.
These lifesaving steps include giving intravenous antibiotics and oxygen and taking vital blood tests.
Despite advances in modern medicine sepsis remains the biggest cause of death from infection – every few seconds, someone in the world dies of sepsis.
Critical care consultant, Dr Isabel Gonzalez said: “Early identification and treatment is key. As soon as a member of staff suspects sepsis they have to screen the patient.
“Sepsis is a medical emergency and it’s crucial that the public and healthcare professionals recognise the symptoms and access treatment straight away.
“For every hour delayed giving antibiotics the patient survival rate decreases by around 7%.
“Sepsis causes more deaths each year than prostate cancer, breast cancer and HIV combined but rapid intervention can reduce the risk of death by as much as 50% which is why we are trying to raise awareness of this disease.”
Sepsis boxes have been given to wards at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton as well as urgent care centres in local community hospitals.
The trust is also launching a new pre-hospital and community hospital sepsis screening tool as part of a regional initiative to increase survival rates.
Medical director Rob Wilson said: “I think the clinical evidence is indisputable. Early and evidenced based intervention saves lives in sepsis.”
What is sepsis?
Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and death, especially if it’s not treated quickly.
Signs and symptoms
If you feel ‘severely sick’, ‘that something is wrong’, or ‘you are not yourself’ AND you have a suspected/diagnosed infection or show any of the following symptoms, you should suspect sepsis:
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and chills
- Confusion and lethargy
- Signs of worsening organ function such as:Difficult or rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Low urine output