Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to infection. It remains the primary cause of death from infection, despite advances in modern medicine like vaccines, antibiotics, and intensive care.
Sepsis is a global healthcare problem. It is more common than heart attack, and claims more lives than any cancer, even in the most developed countries.
Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition that arises when the body’s attempt to fight an infection results in the immune system damaging tissues and organs. This chaotic response, designed to protect us, causes widespread inflammation, leaky blood vessels, and abnormal blood clotting resulting in organ damage. In severe cases, blood pressure drops, multiple organ failure ensues, and the patient can die rapidly from septic shock.
Sepsis can affect any a person of any age, irrespective of underlying good health or medical conditions. In Ireland there were 16,312 cases of sepsis documented in adult inpatients in 2017, with an in-hospital mortality of 18.4%, representing a 3% decrease in mortality since 2016.
The most effective way to reduce death from sepsis is by prevention; good sanitation, personal hygiene, eating healthily, exercising moderately, breast feeding, avoiding unnecessary antibiotics and vaccination for vaccine-preventable infections ie flu vaccine.
The next most effective way is early recognition and treatment. This is not simple. Sepsis evolves over time and the pattern of evolution is extremely variable as it depends on the patient’s general health status, their genetic response to infection and the characteristics of the infecting microbe. Thus, the patient’s characteristics (eg age, existing medical conditions, medications) represent only one aspect of the pattern. The body’s response and the causing bug also play a part on the clinical course of the illness.
On Sunday 10th February the Cahill family are remembering Angela their mother, wife, granny, sister and friend who died from sepsis this time last year.
Helen Cahill states ‘It’s very hard to believe it is nearly one year ago since we lost our lovely Angela. Bringing us right back to that fateful day on the 08 February 2018 when she was admitted to hospital and never returned home. A day we will never forget - ‘the day we said Goodbye’. Our hearts are broken, it’s a void that will never be filled and it is very surreal”.
Taking the positive out of such a tragic situation, the Cahill family want to increase sepsis awareness and to educate people on the signs and symptoms of sepsis to watch out for. They have organised a sepsis awareness/memorial walk ‘Remembering Angela’ at 2pm on Sunday 10th February at Virginia Rugby Club, County Cavan.
They wish to invite as many people as possible to join them to remember “a wonderful lady with a big heart, big smile”, “she was loved by so many, always had time for a chat and a laugh”. "So come along to walk, have a laugh and a chat over a cup of tea on Sunday 10th February.
Further information available #raisingawarenessforangie
Members of the HSE national sepsis team will be present to speak with people about sepsis and information leaflets will be available.
Greater awareness of sepsis will ensure that people know when to get the necessary medical help they need.
Last updated on: 06 / 02 / 2019