BBC - Sepsis: How good are hospitals at treating 'hidden killer'?

6 July, 2019

This BBC news item refers to UK hospitals. It would be interesting to know the comparable figures for hospitals in LMICs.

The article describes sepsis as the 'hidden killer'. In fact, there is a more fundamental 'hidden killer' which underlies preventable deaths from sepsis *and preventable deaths from all causes*: namely, lack of access to basic healthcare information.

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Patients' lives are being put at risk because of delays giving them treatment for sepsis, experts are warning.

Hospitals are meant to put patients on an antibiotic drip within an hour when sepsis is suspected - but research by BBC News suggests a quarter of patients in England wait longer.

Delays raise the chance of potentially fatal complications such as organ failure...

Dr Ron Daniels, of the UK Sepsis Trust, said the "concerning" figures showed patients were being put at risk.

In some hospitals, over half of patients face delays.

Dr Daniels said the one-hour window was "essential to increase the chances of surviving"...

What is sepsis?

Sepsis is triggered by infections but it develops because of an over-reaction by the immune system.

The infection could come from anywhere - even a contaminated cut or insect bite...

Dubbed the "hidden killer", it is hard to spot as there is not a simple definitive test or obvious symptom...

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org