Dangers of Sepsis Highlighted During Awareness Month

September 10th, 2019

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Sept. 10, 2019) – In observance of Sepsis Awareness Month, an informational media availability is being hosted by Lutheran Health and the Allen County Department of Health on Wednesday (Sept. 11) at noon.

To increase community understanding of this dangerous disease, which is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, media are invited to Lutheran Hospital, 7950 W. Jefferson Blvd., where Dr. Deborah McMahan, Allen County Department of Health commissioner, and Deborah Joseph, RN, Lutheran Hospital’s sepsis program coordinator, will discuss the disease’s risks, symptoms and prevention measures – in addition to what the general public can do to identify sepsis from the onset.

Media will have the opportunity to see a hands-on training session in Lutheran’s simulation lab. Nurses will race against the clock in an escape room-style setting where they will use hints, solved puzzles and teamwork to unlock a “patient’s” symptoms and treatment plan to prevent sepsis death.

Sepsis, which is one of the most prevalent but misdiagnosed diseases, is the body’s extreme response to an already existing infection and is a life-threatening medical emergency. Without treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death, but it is estimated as many as 80 percent of sepsis deaths could be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment. Those most at-risk for developing sepsis are infants, seniors, people with chronic or serious illnesses, and those with compromised immune systems.

The Sepsis Alliance recommends using the TIME acronym to remember what to watch for to identify sepsis: temperature (higher or lower than normal); infection (common signs and symptoms like fever, fatigue and pain); mental decline (confused, sleepy, difficult to rouse); and extremely ill (severe pain or discomfort – many survivors describe it as the worst pain they ever felt).

Everyone is encouraged to watch for a combination of these symptoms and call 911, or go to the nearest ER, if concerned about the potential for sepsis. In addition, staying up-to-date on vaccinations, properly caring for wounds, treating infections and regular hand washing are all important for sepsis prevention.

Friday, in observance of World Sepsis Day, Lutheran will also offer an information booth in its cafeteria, located on the hospital’s lower level, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and again from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Medical professionals will be on hand to answer questions from the general public and help raise awareness.

Learn more about the disease and view additional communication materials at Sepsis.org.