World Sepsis Day

Three years ago I acquired pneumonia. My immune system overreacted and sepsis set in. I went to my doctor feeling light-headed & shivering violently. He tried to check my blood pressure, it was not discernible. He then called an ambulance which arrived within three minutes. This was the start of highly professional medical treatment.

Many cases of sepsis are either not diagnosed or mis-diagnosed, these patients ultimately die from the condition which leads to organ failure. In my case I actually had severe sepsis causing complete loss of kidney function. Regardless of the level of treatment 50% of patients with severe sepsis DO NOT SURVIVE. The treatment involves continuous IV intake of antibiotics & fluid. This was done over the first 12 hours while my condition stabilised enough for my transfer to the ICU of another nearby major hospital. I was in the ICU for another 18 hours before being sent out into a general ward to begin my recovery.

In total I was away from the GP's clinic for just over three days and in the later process of researching sepsis learned several things. With the sort of kidney damage sepsis had caused, there are usually three outcomes each with about a 30 to 35% chance of occurrence. These are full recovery; temporary dialysis while regaining function or awaiting a kidney transplant or death. In the case of severe sepsis where organ failure has started survival is at best a 50:50 chance even with the best treatment. My GP said a month later that had I delayed my visit to him by only six more hours we wouldn't be having this conversation.

World Sepsis Day is September 13th each year, in 2018 it was the day before my discharge from that larger hospital. This URL is to a YouTube video explaining sepsis in three minutes. Up to 11 million people die from sepsis worldwide every year, I was very nearly one of them.