Sepsis is a very common bacterial or fungal infection, and usually responds to antibiotics, but in a small proportion of cases infection can overcome the body’s immune system and progress rapidly to critical illness – known as severe sepsis. Sepsis is a time-critical condition that can lead to organ damage, multi-organ failure, septic shock and eventually death. Although most dangerous in those with impaired immune systems, it can be a cause of death in young and otherwise healthy people.
In September 2013, the PHSO published Time to Act Severe Sepsis: rapid diagnosis and treatment saves lives. The report highlighted 10 cases where people with severe sepsis did not receive the urgent treatment they needed and died. The case examples include failings in the care and treatment of people with severe sepsis at home, in hospital emergency departments and in hospital wards.
The UK Sepsis Trust believes that once sepsis is accepted as a medical emergency and as a clinical priority for the NHS, up to 12,500 lives each year could be saved.
PASC held a one-off evidence session to look into this.