Sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock are life-threatening conditions that occur when your child’s body responds to an infection by beginning to break down tissues and organs.
Sepsis is a toxic response to an infection. The immune system, instead of protecting your child’s body, attacks it. With sepsis the body’s immune system over-reacts to the presence of bacteria and produces molecules that damage the organs.
If sepsis is not diagnosed right away and a full course of antibiotics is not given, the bacteria will spread. If the infection is not controlled bacteria can spread to your child’s central nervous system and cause irreversible damage to the baby’s brain. Irreversible damage to other organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and heart, can also occur. Bacteria can also infect the spinal cord, resulting in spinal meningitis.
As of 2011, Sepsis is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The very young are at a higher risk of Sepsis (as are the elderly and anyone with a compromised immune system).
Injury and death from Sepsis is preventable IF your doctor recognizes it is a true medical emergency and starts antibiotics right away.
The video below, produced by the Sepsis Alliance (advocates for encouraging doctors and hospitals to treat Sepsis like the true medical emergency that it is), tells the story of a Georgia dentist’s daughter whose life could have been saved if her doctor had not failed to diagnose Sepsis –
If your loved one is injured or died due to Sepsis and you suspect the doctor or hospital did not diagnosis it early enough or failed to treat it properly and you need to talk, you can contact me here or here or here.