Have we got sepsis wrong?

(Photo by Bastian via Flickr)

When Paul Manley awoke in the hospital, he had one clear conviction running through his groggy mind. “I thought, ‘this is what death feels like, I’m going to die’,” he says. The 62-year-old retired Air Force Colonel had been in a coma for eight days, not because he had been in a car accident, nor because he’d had a stroke or heart attack. What had landed him in the intensive care unit was sepsis, a complication of infection that is still not fully understood.

Infections are a mundane part of life, and in most cases, our body’s immune system shakes them off with little effort. But for more than three quarters of a million people in the US each year – and many millions globally – infections turn into life-threatening sepsis. One in ten people admitted to intensive care units in the US have sepsis, and startlingly, it is the culprit in up to half of all hospital deaths. Continue reading “Have we got sepsis wrong?”