Doctors are hoping that actress Patty Duke’s death will serve as a chance to save some lives. 69 year old Duke died of a common condition that most people aren’t aware of, sepsis.
“The fact that they said Patty Duke’s cause of death was sepsis is relatively new,” Sepsis Alliance Executive Director Thomas Heymann said. “It very often would have been left as a complication of surgery or an infection, but it’s not a complication — it’s sepsis.”
Sepsis kills over 1/4 million Americans every year. It’s a reaction to an infection and can cause major organ failure. Some require amputations to survive.
Sepsis symptoms are similar to regular infection symptoms. Therein lies the challenge with sepsis. It is often discounted. Doctors have a solution for this. If there is an infection, check for organ dysfunction. And if there is organ dysfunction, check for sepsis.
Signs of sepsis can be broken down into an acronym for the condition:
S – Shivering, fever, or feeling very cold
E – Extreme pain or general discomfort, as in “worst ever”
P – Pale or discolored skin
S – Sleepy, difficult to wake up or confused
I – “I feel like I might die”
S – Shortness of breath
A 2006 study found that each hour treatment is delayed results in a 7.6% increase in the chances of sepsis being fatal. So, specialists are hoping this awareness will save lives.
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H/T: Huffington Post