September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Do you even know what sepsis is and how it’s caused? We talked with Doctor William Murry, who is the ER Medical Director at CCMH at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, to learn more about it.
“Sepsis is basically when somebody gets an infection, whether it be a simple bladder infection, pneumonia, an infection on their skin, and your body tries to fight it off with your immune system and what happens is somewhere in that process your immune system produces the chemicals that attack the body,” Dr. Murry said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1.7 million adults in America get sepsis every year, and 270-thousand people die as a result of sepsis. Dr. Murry said it can be mild, like general weakness, to very severe.
“Sepsis is so unpredictable,” Dr. Murry said. “You may think what you have is a mild virus or a simple skin infection, and within 12 to 24 hours you could wound up being on a ventilator needing medications to keep your blood pressure up, and multiple antibiotics.”
It can be deadly, so it’s important to catch it early.
“We actually do a sepsis screening,” he said. “If somebody comes in with possible infectious symptoms, they get flagged in our computer for a physician to see before we go to the room to see them. It says that they screened sepsis positive, and that’s just some components of their vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature.”
He said sepsis is something they see in the emergency room at Comanche County Memorial Hospital every day – multiple times a day.
“We spend a lot of time, particularly at this hospital, reviewing every sepsis case,” Dr. Murry said. “We have to make sure the standard of care was met, and they received aggressive treatment.”
And just like if you’re having a heart attack or stroke, Dr. Murry said not going to the emergency room for a possible sepsis infection, because of the coronavirus, could kill you.