Doctor estimates thousands are dying of sepsis every year

Doctor estimates thousands are dying of sepsis every year

It was all Paige Nicholson could do to keep her eyes open as she rang her dad and said “GP, now.”

A sudden fever and shaking struck the 25-year-old Waikato nurse one night in early July, and by the next day, she knew she urgently needed help.

“Walking in to the GP, I thought, whatever’s going on, I’ve left it way too late,” she says.

She had sepsis – also known as blood poisoning or septicaemia.

The condition kills about 20 per cent of those who get it within a month, but Nicholson “circled the drain”.

Sepsis starts as the body tries to fight another infection – the immune system’s response spirals out of control, damaging vital organs and tissues.

The Global Sepsis Alliance says it’s one of the most prevalent but misdiagnosed deadly diseases, and not nearly enough is being done about it.

And it’s slipping through the cracks in data routinely collected by medical professionals, Waikato District Health Board director of infectious diseases Dr Paul Huggan says.

The Waikato DHB’s own studies indicate in the year from July 2017 it dealt with about 660 sepsis cases, including 172 deaths.

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