Faster Treatment of Sepsis Saves Lives, According to Study

Septic shock is a drastic bodily response to an infection that causes organ failure and death if not timely diagnosed and treated. Statistics show that one in every five cases of sepsis ends in death. There are over 1.5 million cases of sepsis per year in the United States, of which over 300,000 end in death. In 2012, a young 12-year-old boy from New York City scraped his arm while playing a basketball game at school. The boy’s parents responded to the scrape the way most people would – a couple of bandages were placed on the scrape and the boy carried on.

However, later that night, the young boy began vomiting and developed a fever. An initial inspection by the boy’s pediatrician and physicians in the emergency room led them to believe that the boy simply had a bug. In their initial diagnosis, they overlooked key medical indications of a worse condition. The young boy’s parents, after his condition appeared to get worse, brought him to the emergency room a second time. Tragically, the boy died of septic shock.

The public response to this tragic case, and its simplicity in getting such a serious infection through otherwise innocuous means such as scratches, prompted New York state to mandate what they call “Rory’s Regulation”, named after the 12-year-old victim. The regulation required that hospitals and emergency rooms must develop checklists to screen and recognize early signs and symptoms of sepsis.

Shortly after the introduction, this regulation was met with controversy due to a lack of scientific proof that faster treatment of sepsis would save lives. A study carried out by Christopher W. Seymour, an assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh, showed that faster treatment of sepsis does, in fact, save lives. Moreover, the study showed that the amount of deaths that occur with each passing hour without treatment rises by as much as four percent. The study was based on over 50,000 cases of sepsis for over 150 hospitals in New York State, all of which operate on Rory’s Regulation.

The process in Rory’s Regulation required a regimen of blood tests for signs of infection, IV fluids to treat dehydration, and antibiotics to fight infection following the diagnosis of sepsis. This must all be completed within three hours. Not only does the study show that it is beneficial, but in most cases, this regimen was carried out in an average of two hours. The scientific basis found in this study could lead to further adoption of legislation similar to Rory’s Regulation across the country.

Whenever someone goes to the emergency room, they expect a team of medical professionals to quickly and accurately work to their aid. Whenever a diagnosis is missed or delayed, it could mean catastrophic injury or death. If you or a loved one has been injured, or if you have lost a loved one due to a missed diagnosis, contact a medical malpractice lawyer who could help. Contact Richards & Richards, LLP today by calling 412-261-2620 or contact them online to schedule your case consultation.

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