September is sepsis awareness month. Sepsis remains an under-recognized killer of Americans, so setting aside time each year to work to make people aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis is a worthy goal. Without a push to remind people of these types of devastating illnesses, too many of us will let opportunities slip away.
The only downside to an awareness month is that during the other eleven months of the year, people don’t take the time to tell others what to watch out for. It is important that sepsis education take place more often than just once a year. Sepsis occurs suddenly, and if the person hasn’t been reminded of the symptoms in half a year, they are unlikely to recognize them until it is too late.
It is important that we work on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis to make our friends, neighbors, and communities more aware of this devastating disease. There are a variety of ways you can help make your community more aware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis, which include abnormal body temperature, an elevated heart rate and respiratory rate, and the diagnosis of an existing infection. These opportunities to educate include:
- Creating or distributing pamphlets containing information about sepsis
- Starting a support group for people who have suffered due to the disease, or whose family members have suffered
- Engaging with local hospitals to make sure doctors are up-to-date on medical research
- Organizing community events to benefit sepsis awareness
Setting aside a month for sepsis awareness is a wonderful thing, but it will take more than just one month a year to change the medical culture that currently results in so many sepsis diagnoses occurring too late. Sepsis is responsible for thousands of deaths a year, and the vast majority of these are preventable.
If you or someone you love has suffered or died due to a missed diagnosis of sepsis, there is one more thing you can do. Please consult with an experienced attorney regarding your legal options. Holding doctors responsible for not making this life-saving diagnosis is one important step towards teaching healthcare workers just how important it is that the proper tests be run promptly and that proper treatment is administered as soon as possible.