Sepsis is caused by the way the body responds to an infection which can occur anywhere such as chest or urinary tract infections, problems in the abdomen like burst ulcers, or simple skin injuries like cuts and bites. Sepsis is a life threatening condition that makes the body’s immune system go into overdrive as it tries to fight the infection. This can reduce the blood supply to vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys.
Without quick treatment, sepsis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Every year in the UK there are 150,000 cases of Sepsis, resulting 44,000 deaths (more than bowel, breast and prostate cancer combined).
A national campaign has been launched to improve knowledge of what sepsis is, symptoms of sepsis and when to seek urgent healthcare advice.
The good news is that if diagnosed early then Sepsis can be treated and outcomes greatly improved.
Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been at the forefront of fighting Sepsis. The Trust was the first in the western hemisphere to introduce a community delivered response to patients with a condition which might leave them susceptible to sepsis e.g. immunosupressed due to cancer treatment. This has now been extended to any patient where sepsis is suspected.
The Trust’s integrated treatment protocol was developed by Dr John Pike and paramedic Tholi Wood. A trained paramedic can deliver high dose antibiotics at the scene of an incident or in the patient’s home ensuring vital minutes and hours are not lost and lives are saved. The effect of this has been to help make a significant reduction in the mortality of patients seen at St. Mary’s Hospital. The scheme has been running since October 2013.
Shane Moody, Consultant Nurse at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, says:
“We know that treating suspected Sepsis much earlier saves patient’s lives and prevents admissions to intensive care – a third of patients admitted to intensive care have sepsis. Our integrated services here on the Island – all hosted in Isle of Wight NHS Trust – made it possible for us to develop and implement this initiative quickly. Previously patients had to wait until they arrived at hospital to receive these special antibiotics intravenously. For every hours delay in diagnosis and treatment the risk of death from sepsis increases substantially.”
Isle of Wight Ambulance Service Clinical Support Officer Tholi Wood said:
“A call to the Trust’s integrated urgent care hub on either 999 or 111 activates the service. The call can be made by the patient, a member of staff in the Trust’s cancer service including the Chemotherapy Suite or by a GP. The Urgent Care Hub may dispatch a rapid response vehicle to enable the patient to be treated at home. This is likely to be followed up by an Emergency Ambulance to transfer the patient to hospital for further treatment and tests but the important early diagnosis and treatment is achieved reducing the longer term problems for the patient.”
You can find out more about Sepsis on the NHS Choices website at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Blood-poisoning/Pages/Introduction.aspx.