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This week, 'think sepsis'


This Wednesday marks World Sepsis Day, a day to encourage everyone – public and healthcare professionals alike – to recognise and act on the signs of sepsis.

The Global Sepsis Alliance estimates that there are at least 8 million deaths worldwide each year from sepsis. Despite that, it believes that, depending on where you are in the world, it is a condition only known to between seven and 50% of people. This makes it the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.

World Sepsis Day – held annually across the globe on 13 September since 2012 – aims to raise awareness of sepsis and educate the public and those working in healthcare to spot the condition early enough to have an impact on morbidity and life expectancy.

A few months ago, I wrote about Tom and Nic Ray, a couple whose lives were torn apart by a late diagnosis of Tom’s sepsis back in the late 1990s. I met them when they spoke at an event at United Hospital North Midlands organised by chief nurse Liz Rix.

Their story is now the subject of a feature film, called Starfish, and they are both sharing their experiences at the Nursing Times Directors’ Congress on 5-6 October in Manchester. If you’re a chief nurse, you’re eligible to come and hear this inspiring couple speak, and I guarantee you will not regret dedicating your time to hearing their story and how their lives were ripped apart by sepsis.

Of course, Tom was affected by sepsis at a time when there was less focus on it, with little discussion and scant publicity for it. Times have changed since then and we all hear much more about it in the UK. However, World Sepsis Day organisers believe there is yet more that can be done.

We agree. This week we’re launching a sepsis learning unit as part of the World Sepsis Day activities. Free as part of a subscription to Nursing Times, our suite of over 20 learning units can be used to help improve your knowledge of an array of subjects and as part of your revalidation activities.

Our sepsis unit is designed to help you ‘think sepsis’ and strengthen your awareness of its signs and symptoms, and to know what to do if you suspect sepsis in a patient.

Around the world today, people will be taking part in activities to fund raise, educate and learn more.

We urge you to support World Sepsis Day by signing the declaration at, and make sure you share it with your colleagues, families, friends. Everyone needs to know about sepsis.

Tom and Nic Ray have just launched their motivational speaking business Resilience and Co. Tom’s story is inspirational. As a result of sepsis, he is a quadruple amputee and has lost a large part of his face to the condition – the fact that he survived means his new business is aptly named.

Your knowledge is power and could prevent the disease progressing and causing such harm as it did to Tom and taking lives in others.

Just ask yourself ‘Could it be sepsis?’





Readers' comments (2)

  • We expect all kinds of infections in hospital due to poor care, nurse rub their the palms of their hands with sanitiser but it is fingers that touch patients, how many times do we see doctors going from patient to patient without washing their hands.
    Then we have nursing / care staff that do shopping and gardening in their uniforms even roaming around boot sales.
    Hand sanitisers kill goof bacteria as well as bad ones, but stand near any sanitiser spray and see how many staff actually clean their fingers, it is always a quick rub in the palms of their hands.
    In my days we WASHED our hands with soap and water, infections in hospitals is due to dirty nursing / care habits, I could draw up a very long list of them, but nobody listens anyway!

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  • What is sepsis?
    I never heard of it until now.

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