The Timing of Giving Antibiotics Proved to be Critical in Sepsis Diagnosis and Treatment

According to a report in Modern Healthcare, the University of Colorado Health and its flagship hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, reduced the sepsis mortality rate by 15% in less than one year. In 2016, about 10% of patients with sepsis died from it. At the University of Colorado Hospital, officials conducted an internal study and found that some septic patients did not receive the needed antibiotics quickly enough. According to CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), antibiotics should be given to patients with sepsis within three hours. The University of Colorado Health has found that patients regularly waited three hours or longer to get the needed antibiotic after sepsis was diagnosed.

At the University of Colorado Health, it was proven convincingly that if the patient receives antibiotics within an hour of the sepsis diagnosis, the sepsis death rate dropped by 50%. At the University of Colorado Hospital to reduce this response time, its officials developed a multi-step process that uses patients’ electronic medical records to identify patients who are at risk of sepsis. The electronic health records (EHR) monitors patients’ vital signs and alert a nurse of any abnormalities. The nurse then will check for other signs of sepsis and enter those symptoms into the EHR, which determines whether the patient has a low, medium or high probability of sepsis.

When patients are determined to have a medium or high probability of contracting sepsis, the hospital’s sepsis team, a group of caregivers made up of a nurse, pharmacist and a physician or advanced practitioner, who are dedicated to making quick sepsis diagnoses, are put into place. If the team determines that the patient is septic, antibiotics are immediately ordered and given. The prescription is marked as urgent to make sure that the pharmacist fills the order within the hour.

In addition, the nurses on the team will receive a workflow checklist to ensure the process is followed. According to the article in Modern Healthcare, University of Colorado Hospital has reduced the hospital’s sepsis mortality rate by 15%, leading to about 39 lives saved. It has lowered by 11% of the length of stay in intensive care units (ICU).

Even with this proven study of reduction of deaths in sepsis cases, sepsis claims a disproportionately large share of in-hospital deaths, ranging from 19% to 34% annually. Importantly, once sepsis is diagnosed, the administering of antibiotics within an hour is crucial. Hospitals around the country can learn from what the University of Colorado Hospital has thoughtfully documented regarding saving lives of those patients who have contracted sepsis.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling wrongful death lawsuits related to sepsis, medical malpractice lawsuits, hospital negligence cases and traumatic brain injury lawsuits for individuals, families and the loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of a medical provider for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Cicero, Joliet, Aurora, Berkeley, Blue Island, Kenilworth, LaGrange, Melrose Park, Northfield, Orland Hills, Palos Heights, Riverdale, Riverside, Winnetka, Westchester, Stickney, Steger, Crete, Dixmoor, Chicago (Hegewisch, Gold Coast, Englewood, Chinatown, Canaryville, Near North Side, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, South Loop, West Town, Marquette Park, Beverly, Morgan Park, Burnside, Chatham, Stockyards, Little Village), Elmhurst, Wood Dale and Buffalo Grove, Ill.

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