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Publication Date: 13/09/2017 

World Sepsis Day 

Wednesday 13 September 

 

Martin Carberry (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 an infection results in the immune system damaging tissues and organs.

Martin Carberry, NHS Lanarkshire nurse consultant in critical care, said: “Sepsis is a major cause of death across the world and in the UK. You are five times more likely to suffer a death from sepsis than die 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.

The Sepsis Six is a set of interventions which can increase a patient’s chance of survival. The six steps include administering a high flow of oxygen, taking blood cultures and giving antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

Martin added: “Clinical colleagues at hospitals across Lanarkshire are hosting a series of events on Wednesday 13 September to raise awareness of sepsis.

“The key message is that sepsis needs to be spotted and treated quickly, usually with antibiotics, before it spreads. It starts with an infection that can come from anywhere, even a contaminated cut or insect bite. Normally, your immune system kicks in to fight the infection and stop it spreading.

“If the infection manages to spread quickly round the body, then the immune system will launch a massive immune response to fight it and this can have catastrophic effects on the body.”

“The six symptoms to be aware of are; slurred speech, extreme shivering or muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.

"For each hour’s delay in antibiotics the chances of dying from sepsis increases by almost 8 per cent so it is vital we get people to hospital as quickly as possible.”