Posted on September 16, 2017

Sepsis is a serious illness and can lead to a life threatening condition called septic shock. The condition is an extreme response triggered by an infection and if untreated can lead to shock, organ failure, and death. Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is marking World Sepsis Day with education and awareness raising activities for healthcare professionals to improve recognition of the signs and symptoms of sepsis.

“Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death. Greater awareness among the general public as well as more specialized education for hospital staff is key to ensuring that fewer patients with sepsis have their condition deteriorate to a severely critical level,” said Dr. Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan, Chairman of HMC’s Critical Care Center and Chair of the HMC Sepsis Program Steering Group. “We have developed a corporate program for sepsis care, which is based on international best practice that has been adapted to our local needs,” added Dr. Hassan.

Sepsis follows a unique and time-critical clinical course, which in the early stages is highly responsive to treatment. Sepsis is a medical emergency but can be difficult to diagnose because early symptoms are often confused with other conditions. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis and timely treatment saves lives. Symptoms of sepsis can include fever, chills, rapid heartbeat and confusion, with symptoms of septic shock including confusion, nausea and vomiting, rash and joint pain. Individuals with weakened immune systems, children, infants, and the elderly are most vulnerable to developing the condition. Those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, AIDS, cancer, and kidney or liver disease, are also at increased risk, as are individuals who have experienced a severe burn or physical trauma.

Sepsis causes between six and nine million deaths worldwide every year, many of which are preventable. According to the Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA), it is a major cause of maternal and neonatal illness and mortality. Last year, HMC launched a sepsis program as part of its patient safety agenda. The program aims to boost care services for all patients diagnosed with sepsis as well as to support clinicians in recognizing and diagnosing sepsis early. 

Dr. Ahmed Labib, Senior Consultant ECMO, ICM and Anesthesia and HMC Sepsis Program Chair explained: “A person’s immune system usually works to fight any germs, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, to prevent an infection. If an infection does occur, the body’s immune system will try to fight it. But sometimes the immune system stops fighting these germs and begins to turn on itself and this is the start of sepsis. Patients with sepsis have a better chance of recovery when their healthcare teams are well trained in providing specialized and prompt care.”

World Sepsis Day was first established in 2012 and is held annually on 13 September.

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