Sepsis is a life-threatening illness that develops when the body has an extreme reaction to an infection. Although your immune system is designed to fight infections, sometimes chemicals released by the immune system to fight the infection trigger inflammation throughout the body instead. This can lead to organ failure, tissue damage and even death. In some cases, patients may go into septic shock, which is a very serious medical emergency.
Because sepsis is a threat to patients who already have an infection, hospitals have been looking for ways to fight it for many years. A recent study by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, which looked at the effects of regulations for sepsis treatment implemented in New York State over the past five years, may shed some light on the best way to do so.
What did New York State do to Fight Sepsis?
In 2013, New York became the first state to introduce state-wide protocol for the early detection and treatment of sepsis. The regulations and new protocol addressed the following issues:
- Early screening and recognition.
- Septic shock and severe cases.
- Identifying and documenting the best treatment for patients.
- Administering strict guidelines for treatment.
- The mandated administration of antibiotics within three hours of hospitalization and intravenous fluids within six hours.
The new study published in JAMA shows that New York state’s efforts appear to be working, since mortality rates from sepsis have declined significantly since the regulations were imposed.
To reach their conclusion, the researchers looked at over 1 million sepsis admissions to over 500 hospitals across 5 states. The four states used as the control group that did not follow a strict sepsis protocol were Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey. They found that in New York, sepsis mortality rates dropped by 4.3%, compared with a drop of just 2.9% in the other states. The findings suggest that the regulations are having their intended effect.
Other States Considering Regulations
Although in the United States, it’s rare for the State to force hospitals to implement specific protocol, New York state’s success in decreasing sepsis mortality rates could lead to a change in attitude. According to the lead author of the study, Jeremy Kahn, M.D., M.S., there are twelve states that are now “actively considering” implementing regulations similar to those issued in New York, and many other states that are considering them as well.
Contact the Law Offices of Schochor and Staton, P.A. for a Consultation
If you or a loved one has been affected by sepsis in a healthcare facility or hospital, it’s a good idea to contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At the law firm of Schochor and Staton, our medical malpractice lawyers take pride in fighting for the rights of victims and their families. Call us today at 410-234-1000 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.