More awareness needed over the danger of sepsis

NHS Lanarkshire's Martin Carberry (front, right) with clinical colleagues raising awareness of World Sepsis Day
NHS Lanarkshire's Martin Carberry (front, right) with clinical colleagues raising awareness of World Sepsis Day

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which kills more people than prostate, bowel and breast cancer combined.

Also known as septicaemia or blood poisoning, sepsis occurs when the body’s attempt to fight infection results in the immune system damaging tissue and organs.

Martin Carberry, NHS Lanarkshire nurse consultant in critical care, said: “You are five times more likely to suffer a death from sepsis than as a result of a heart attack.

“If it is not identified early, sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and even death. Early identification and treatment can reduce mortality by half, especially if antibiotics are delivered within the first hour.”

In order to begin treatment as quickly as possible, teams in each acute hospital across Lanarkshire use the ‘Sepsis Six’ bundle.

This is a set of interventions which can increase a patient’s chance of survival including administering a high flow of oxygen, taking blood cultures and giving antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

Hospitals across Lanarkshire are hosting a series of events today (Wednesday) to raise awareness of sepsis.

Mr Carberry “The key message is that sepsis needs to be spotted and treated quickly, usually with antibiotics, before it spreads.

“For each hour’s delay the chances of dying from sepsis increases by almost eight per cent so it’s vital we get people to hospital as quickly as possible.”