Sepsis. What is it? It is bad and it is life-threatening and it effects more than 1 million patients a year! The Mayo Clinic defines sepsis as an infection in which the patient exhibits at least two of the following symptoms, plus a probable or confirmed infection:
1. Body temperature above 101 F (38.3 C) or below 96.8 F (36 C)
2. Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
3. Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute
Many doctors view sepsis as a three-stage syndrome, starting with sepsis and progressing through severe sepsis to septic shock. The goal is to treat sepsis during its early stage, before it becomes more dangerous.
The “Surviving Sepsis Guidelines” were first published in 2004 and were most recently updated in January of 2107. The most important information in the new guidelines is the recommendation that antibiotics should be administered as soon as possible and within 1 hour maximum. Read about the new sepsis guidelines here.
There is no excuse for a primary care doctor or emergency room physician to fail to administer immediate antibiotics for patients with the above signs of sepsis. If you are the patient, or a family member accompanying the patient, demand antibiotics. Your (or a loved one’s) life may depend on it.