Sepsis: The "Backwater Disease" That Kills Millions
Mayo Clinic, Oronoco, United States
Daniel Hankins practiced emergency medicine for 40 years and was a medical director for multiple air and ground transport services for 35 years, the last 23 years of which were at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is a past President of the Association of Air Medical Services.
Sepsis, along with its most extreme presentation, septic shock, is a common killer that most Australians are unaware of, killing 6400 Australians per year. The World Health Organization has made the early recognition and treatment of sepsis a global priority. In spite of emphasis on aggressive management around the world, the WHO estimates that 30 million cases with 6 million deaths per year occur worldwide. With aging populations happening in all countries, the incidence of sepsis continues to grow and mortality is increasing. In the U.S.A., 33% of hospital deaths are related to sepsis. Patients with sepsis are often left with significant long term physical, psychological, and cognitive disabilities, resulting in being a burden to themselves, the family and the health care system. Implementation of early recognition and early appropriate aggressive care protocols/guidelines by transport personnel can result in markedly better patient outcomes at the hospital. This discussion will look at the scope of the sepsis problem, along with methods of recognizing sepsis early and the best interventions for resuscitation to promote successful treatment and delivery of a clinically improved patient to the receiving facility.