Recently, a 12-year-old-boy, Rory Staunton, died of sepsis in a New York hospital. Rory had gotten a cut on his arm while playing basketball with his friends. Bacteria got into the cut and a few days later Rory was dead. The sepsis was a result of undiagnosed Streptococcus pyogenes, otherwise known as Strep A. Strep A is the bacteria that gives us Strep throat and is easily curable with a course of antibiotics. If it goes undiagnosed or untreated, however, it can have dire consequences, as was the case with Rory Staunton.
Bacterial infections are the most common causes of sepsis. The infection can begin anywhere the bacteria enters the body, including a cut on the arm. When the body goes into overdrive to fight the infection with white blood cells, often times this triggers widespread inflammation. The inflammation can lead to organ damage and even complete organ failure. When key organs begin to shut down and eventually fail, the person dies.
The earlier sepsis is caught, the more treatable it is. A study has found that for every hour’s delay in giving antibiotics to a septic patient after their blood pressure has dropped considerably, the survival rate decreases by 7.6%. Some signs of sepsis to look out for are:
• Rapid heart rate
• Rapid breathing
• Low blood pressure
• Nausea and vomiting
• Decreased Urination
• Skin rash
If you experience 3 or more of these symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.