Stronger Together: Children’s Hospitals Aim to Save Lives from SepsisPosted on by
Guest Author: Amy Wimpey Knight
Chief Operating Officer, Children’s Hospital Association
Sepsis has been called the “silent killer" and is devastating in children. In fact, sepsis is a leading cause of death among children and kills more than 4,500 children each year. And, of the 40,000 children diagnosed with sepsis each year, 38 percent of survivors sustain a lifelong disability. Sepsis is a complication caused by the body’s response to infection. Sepsis can start from an infection after a cut or injury among children with an underlying medical condition, as a complication of a respiratory infection, or from an infection acquired during a hospital stay. Nearly any infection can cause sepsis, but sepsis more commonly develops in children with a chronic condition that makes them more susceptible to infection complications. For every hour of delay in diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in children, the risk of death increases.
Health care providers in the community, emergency departments and children’s hospitals are especially important for early sepsis recognition and care. More than 60 percent of all pediatric sepsis cases are ultimately treated in children’s hospitals, but onset and detection may occur elsewhere. Working together, we can improve their prognosis through early detection and timely treatment.
How do we do this? More than 35 children’s hospitals have joined forces nationally to fight sepsis and improve the odds for recovery through improved surveillance, early diagnosis, and aggressive treatment. The aim is to reduce sepsis deaths and hospital-onset severe sepsis by at least 75 percent. By bringing together dedicated professionals who have many years of experience treating sepsis, researching its causes, and improving treatment, we aspire to move swiftly toward better outcomes. Launched in May 2016, the work brings together more than 60 pediatric sepsis experts from 40 children’s hospitals across the country in partnership with the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA). This initiative also extends to non-hospital settings where many children with sepsis are initially seen. The work and its reach have implications for all health care providers and hospitals that care for children.
What can you do? Find out more September 11-17, when we focus on infants and children as part of Sepsis Awareness Month. Learn how pediatric sepsis differs from adult sepsis; hear important facts and understand the work children’s hospitals are doing to fight sepsis and save lives. Follow along via social media (#pedsepsis): Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and through the Speak Now for Kids grassroots advocacy program.
You can read more about pediatric sepsis and how children’s hospitals are working together to save lives.
Amy Wimpey Knight is the chief operating officer for Children’s Hospital Association in Washington, D.C. Children’s Hospital Association is the national voice of more than 200 children’s hospitals, advancing child health through innovation in the quality, cost and delivery of care.