This Is The Best Way To Save Lives

this-is-how-to-save-lives

Dear Colleague

Today I’d like to briefly discuss the work we are doing to reduce the impact that sepsis has on our patients.

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a leading cause of death – in the U.S. more than 250,000 patients die each year from sepsis. 

Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight an infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail. 

If sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically which may lead to death.

There's a video here which shows how important it is that we improve our ability to identify and treat sepsis.

Who Gets Sepsis?

Anyone can get sepsis. It is more common in the elderly and in the very young – but anyone can be affected. Sepsis can escalate rapidly and people can become very ill quickly.

Have We Got A Problem With Sepsis In HMC?

Last year, 1154 sepsis related cases were admitted and 340 patients died from septic shock. This is a mortality rate of 29.5%. We think this is higher than it could be – so we need to do something about it.

What Are We Going To Do At Al Wakra Hospital?

We are introducing a sepsis pathway. This is an evidence based tool that will help all clinicians spot sepsis sooner and start treatment more quickly.

What Is The Pathway?

The Pathway has three parts. 

  1. Recognise – Signs that might help to spot someone is developing sepsis.
  2. Resuscitate –  The response which needs to be made in the 1st hour and subsequently.
  3. Refer – How to get help.

The pathway will be available on Cerner.

What Is Our Goal?

We want to reduce the number of deaths from sepsis by 25% over 5 years.

How Can You Help?

Patients who may be developing sepsis aren’t always easy to identify. Sepsis can cause rapid deterioration if not treated promptly. For every hour of delayed administration of antibiotics, mortality rises by 8%.

If you’re a clinician of any kind (nurse, doctor, respiratory therapist etc) there are three things you can do to help. 

  1. Take a look at the pathway and become familiar with it.
  2. Speak up. If you think a patient has or may be developing sepsis, tell someone who can assess the patient. It’s far better to have false positives than to miss the opportunity to treat someone early.
  3. Discuss the Sepsis Pathway in your team meetings. Make sure the people you work with understand the pathway and know what to do.

It’s not often we can set an objective which aims to save lives. 

If we follow the pathway consistently over the next few months we can be sure that this is what will happen. 

What could be more important than that?  As the Holy Quran says:

And whoever saves one – it is as if he has saved mankind entirely”.

I’ll close by wishing good health and happiness to you and your family for the week ahead.

Adam

If you’d like to catch up on any previous letter, you can do so here.