Know sepsis, save a life

Every September since 2011, September has been designated as Sepsis Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating people on what sepsis is, how to identify it and the deadly effects.

Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. More than 1.7 million people get sepsis each year in the United States resulting in 270,000 deaths, making sepsis the third leading cause of death. More people die from sepsis than from breast cancer, prostate cancer and AIDS combined. Roughly 75,000 children develop severe sepsis each year and 6,800 of these children lose their life, more than from childhood cancers.

Despite its prevalence, less than 1 percent of Americans can identity the most common symptoms of sepsis. Forty-two South Dakota hospitals have joined Compass Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), which provides participating hospitals with tools, resources and best practices on 10 core topics, including sepsis.

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