image of blood cells with text "Sepsis Know the Facts" in the middle

Sepsis - A silent killer and leading cause of death

Sepsis is a silent killer that claims approximately 11 million lives each year.

“Sepsis accounts for one in every five global deaths,” says Rachel Murphy, UTMB clinical nurse educator. “Despite this fact, it isn't really talked about in the community or the US; however, those of us in the hospital setting see it all too often.”

Sepsis emerges when the body's response to an infection overreacts, causing harm to its own tissues and organs. If left unchecked, it can progress rapidly, leading to shock, multi-organ failure, and, ultimately, death – particularly when not identified early and treated promptly.

Dr. Gulshan Sharma, UTMB’s senior vice president, chief medical & clinical innovation officer, stresses that early awareness is crucial, and delayed or misdiagnosed care can be detrimental to our patients. Immediately administering antibiotics and other treatment is essential for a successful recovery.

While no single diagnostic test for sepsis exists, increased public awareness is essential to confront this life-threatening emergency.

Some common signs of sepsis include:

  • Feeling strangely unwell
  • Worsening symptoms during treatment for an infection
  • Fever Shaking chills
  • Confusion Reduced mental alertness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakened kidney or liver function

For more information, visit the World Sepsis Day website, and consider using this checklist to prevent sepsis.