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Memorial Hospital Works to Diagnose and Treat Sepsis - 4/30/05

Approximately 215,000 deaths per year are attributed to sepsis, a severe illness caused by overwhelming infection of the bloodstream by toxin-producing bacteria. Often misunderstood and under-diagnosed, sepsis has a higher incidence than colon and breast cancer combined. Sepsis cases are projected to grow at an annual rate of 1.5 percent (nearly doubling in the next 25-30 years). Moreover, the mortality rate for sepsis can reach as high as 60 percent for people with aggravating medical conditions or weakened immune systems. Health care costs for treating sepsis are estimated at over $17 billion dollars per year.

Responding to this growing health concern, Memorial Hospital is partnering with Penrose Hospital and a statewide coalition of other Front Range hospitals to develop treatment protocols for patients suffering from sepsis. While still in the formative stages, Memorial and other coalition hospitals are working to develop and implement quality initiatives to improve patient outcomes. These initiatives are geared toward patients receiving quick diagnosis and quality follow-up care. Collaborative efforts also include newly developed programs and protocols, ongoing research, improved technology and increased awareness through community education.

“Once established, participating hospitals will be among an elite group of designated hospitals in the country to have cutting-edge protocols in place with 100 percent compliance,” said Ronald Rains, M.D., internal medicine and pulmonary disease specialist. “Research indicates that early diagnosis and aggressive treatment lead to better patient survival rates.”

To learn more about sepsis, visit the American Sepsis Alliance website at