Veronica Cosgrove, Secretary of the Sepsis Committee at Cavan General, ED Consultant Dr Ashraf Butt, Sepsis Committee Lead, and Mary Bedding, RCSI Sepsis Lead.

Cavan General prepare to mark World Sepsis Day

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the international day of recognition aimed at raising awareness sepsis

Medical staff at Cavan General Hospital are building up to mark World Sepis Day (September 13), with an emphasis on early recognition and treatment of a condition, if left unchecked, can prove potentially fatal.

2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the international day of recognition aimed at raising awareness sepsis, which occurs when the body's response to infection injures its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multi-organ failure and death- especially if not recognised early and treated properly.

Poignantly, given the current pandemic, sepsis is considered the final common pathway to death from most infectious diseases worldwide, including SARS-CoV-2.

Symptoms include slurred speech, confusion or excessive drowsiness; extreme shivering and muscle pain; passing little or no urine; severe breathlessness and racing heartbeat; a feeling that a person is going to die; and a change in skin tone.

For children, the telltale signs are that the child is not feeding; they're vomiting repeatedly; and have not wet a nappy in 12 hours.

Pushing the awareness agenda at Cavan General Hospital are the members of the Sepsis Committee, but they also hope that WSD21 will help inform the public also so that medical experts can react better and quicker at times of need.

The WSD in Cavan has been organised by Practice Development Facilitator and Sepsis Committe Secretary, Veronica Cosgrove, who hopes to engage staff throughout the hospital on September 13 to increase knowledge around the condition and how it should be treated.

"Increased knowledge has the potential to save lives and to reduce the adverse consequences of sepsis," she told The Anglo-Celt.

Mary Bedding, RCSI Sepsis Lead, says that since 2014 there has been a national sepsis programme, part of which has targetted investment at educating staff who recognise and treat the condition earlier. "We know the number of cases has increased since then, but saying that, the mortality rate has decreased, so certainly we're doing something right."

Dr Ashraf Butt is an Emergency Department Consultant at Cavan General, and also the Sepsis Committee Lead at the local health facility. He says identifying sepsis in patients early is "vital" to their recovery.

"It is vital we recognise it early, and implement treatment early as well. Early recognition and treatment saves lives."

Dr Buff remarks that deaths due to sepsis can be entirely "avoidable" when the symptoms are picked up early and medical intervention is taken. "Certainly deaths can be avoided when treatment is started early, and [sepsis] is recognised early."