World Sepsis Day

Thursday, September 13, 2018

September 13 marks World Sepsis Day; a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the potentially deadly condition.

It is estimated 60 per cent of Australians have never heard of sepsis, however in the last five years in Queensland the number of patients admitted to hospital due to sepsis has almost doubled to more than 20,000. And as the leading cause of preventable death in children in Queensland, sepsis is one of the most common yet least recognised illnesses.

So what is sepsis? Sepsis is caused by the body's response to infection which damages healthy tissue and organs. It is a medical emergency which can lead to organ failure and death if not identified and treated early.

In a bid to reduce sepsis mortality and morbidity in Queensland, the Clinical Excellence Division is working with clinicians and consumers from across the state on a sepsis initiative strongly aligned to the Stopping Sepsis National Action Plan released late last year by The George Institute for Global Health and the Australian Sepsis Network.

Adult and paediatric sepsis clinical pathways have been developed for further testing across Queensland emergency departments. The pathways include a sepsis screening tool and treatment bundle incorporating antibiotic prescribing and administration guidelines.

A sepsis Breakthrough Collaborative has been established, with the first learning session held in Brisbane 30-31 August 2018. With 16 hospitals represented, more than 100 clinicians and consumers came together to better understand the burden of sepsis, as well as how it could be best managed in our hospitals, using an evidence-based bundle of care. The collaboratives will use improvement science from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to identify how Queensland clinicians can identify sepsis early and initiate appropriate treatment sooner.

Consumer representatives form an integral part of the sepsis program and include Matthew Ames, who contracted sepsis in 2012 and survived but now lives with life-long disability, Damian Jones whose daughter Maddy died of sepsis last year, Peter and Amy Wilkinson whose daughter Mia lost her limbs to sepsis at the age of four, and Marissa Ryan whose daughter Sabella contracted sepsis after breaking her arm.

At the learning session the consumers recounted their experience with sepsis. A common theme was repeatedly seeking medical help but being told not to worry. Matthew asked the question 'how do we change this history?' His answer: "that's what this collaborative is all about. Think about Maddy, Mia, Matthew and think about those close to you because it could have been them. Think could this be sepsis? Be the one to make that change. Be the one to create a wonderful future and make new history."

Could this be sepsis?

Think 'could this be sepsis?' from Clinical Excellence Division on Vimeo.

Video transcript

Could this be sepsis? Sepsis is a silent killer. Initially it often mimics other diseases such as flu. Sepsis is a life-threatening infection that happens when the body's own response to that infection ends up damaging organs and tissue.

Early recognition and management of sepsis saves lives. Just ask that question could this be sepsis? Could this be sepsis? Could this be sepsis? Could it be sepsis?

Tick tock you’re on the clock. Could this be sepsis? For more information visit Clinical Excellence Division and Queensland Government.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018