Everyone Has a Role in Sepsis Prevention

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
Dr. Denise Cardo
Dr. Denise Cardo

Author: Denise Cardo, MD
Director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion,
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases
at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s overwhelming response to an infection – It is a medical emergency. Time matters!

CDC’s Vital Signs report, Think sepsis. Time matters, shows that sepsis often manifests outside the hospital and several patients who developed sepsis received frequent medical care to manage a chronic condition, or had recently used healthcare services for other reasons. Thus, we know opportunities exist for more infections to be prevented and for timely recognition and response to sepsis.

The report also highlights the importance of healthcare providers, patients and their families to improve patient outcomes and save lives. Healthcare providers are critical to preventing infections that may lead to sepsis. Key actions include promoting prevention strategies to their patients (e.g. hand hygiene and vaccinations), as well as following infection control practices in healthcare settings with every patient encounter. In addition, prompt recognition of the possibility of sepsis and swift action are essential so more lives are saved.

Family members and patients have a vital role in sepsis prevention. However, too many Americans have not heard about sepsis and are not aware that it is necessary to act fast when an infection does not get better. CDC is calling on healthcare providers to take action by informing patients and families about infection prevention, recognizing when an infection is getting worse, and knowing when to seek care. Educating and engaging patients and family members is an essential part of sepsis prevention.

Many hospitals are implementing programs for early sepsis recognition and management. To achieve the best patient outcomes, these programs need to work with existing healthcare-associated infection prevention programs and antibiotic stewardship programs.

Far too many people are dying as a result of infections that are not prevented and because sepsis is not being recognized and managed promptly. As a country, we need to do more to protect patients and save lives. All of us have a role to play and I count on your commitment to do what is needed to enact real change.

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

3 comments on “Everyone Has a Role in Sepsis Prevention”

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    I am a sepsis survivor. I became sepsis after a hernia repair. The surgeon that performed my procedure punctured my intestine with the mesh he used to repair the hernia. I knew within less than 24 hours something was terribly wrong. I was transported by ambulance back to the hospital because my pain was so severe. The ER Doctor wanted to admit me, but the surgeon that performed the surgery, would not agree to let me be admitted. I went for 2 weeks with poison from my intestine leaking into my body. I went to, and called, the surgeon’s office several times during those 2 weeks to no avail . Even though I had all the classic symptoms, he turned a deaf ear. Until my fever spiked to almost 104 degrees, and you could actually smell the poison seeping from my body. When he, the Doctor, finally realized that I was septic he immediately done emergency surgery. I was in ICU for 10 days, and almost died. By the grace of God my life was spared , but I am still having a lot of problems pertaining to the sepsis. I am doing everything I can do to educate everyone on this deadly illness.

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Page last reviewed: August 31, 2016
Page last updated: August 31, 2016