Sepsis – The hidden killer
Hospitals are missing the symptoms of sepsis and failing to administer antibiotics quickly enough, according to a recent investigation featured in a BBC Panorama programme. Figures obtained by the BBC show that 24 NHS acute hospital trusts failed to give intravenous antibiotics within an hour to half the patients considered to need the treatment for this lifethreatening condition. Sepsis kills around 44,000 people in the UK each year, and causes more deaths than breast cancer, bowel cancer and prostate cancer put together. It occurs when the body’s defences go into overdrive to fight off a major infection.
Doctors are being reminded that they should look for the early signs of sepsis, which can include fast breathing or a fast heartbeat, high or low temperature, chills and shivering, and in later stages dizziness, disorientation, mottled skin and vomiting.
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