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Suspect Sepsis. Save a Life.

700 deaths a day. 

That’s what sepsis causes in the United States.  It’s shocking.  However, survival rates increase dramatically when patients get the right treatment, right away.

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis is the body’s abnormal response to infection.  The body essentially attacks itself, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and even death.

Any infection can lead to sepsis. 

It is often associated with infections of the lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract, skin and gut. Sepsis is extremely serious and requires immediate treatment.

Preventing & Treating Sepsis

Nurses at WakeMed take sepsis very seriously. We want to make a difference, and we know we have an important role. Being the closest health care professionals to patients, nurses play a key role in identifying and communicating subtle and early changes in a patient’s condition.

We make infection prevention and early recognition of sepsis our daily priorities.

We recognize the importance of working as a team to accomplish all of the tasks on time. We work closely with our physicians, pharmacy, lab services and other disciplines to initiate and implement treatment in a timely manner.

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WakeMed eICU (electronic ICU) Service

In addition to coordinated teamwork and evidence-based protocols, WakeMed has a unique tool to help us prevent and treat sepsis. It is the WakeMed eICU Service — a group of critical care nurses and physicians who serve as resources and a “second set of eyes” to the bedside staff.  They remotely monitor critical care patients’ vital signs and lab results and help to facilitate and expedite treatment.

Patients and families are often anxious and frightened about the severity of sepsis. Educating our patients and their family about sepsis and keeping them informed about the plan of care can help reduce anxiety and promotes patient and family centered care.

Know the Symptoms of Sepsis.

People who have sepsis may have one, some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever, shivering, feeling very cold
  • Extreme discomfort
  • Clammy, sweaty skin
  • Confusion/disorientation
  • Short of breath
  • High heart rate

Depending on where the infection is, the above symptoms may also be accompanied by diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, painful urination and other issues.

Go to the Hospital Immediately!

If you suspect your or someone you know has sepsis, don’t wait.  Go to the hospital immediately or call 911 for assistance. A fast response can save a life.


About the Authors

Aranzazu Conklin, BSN, RN, CCRN

Aranzazu works in the WakeMed eICU. She has nine years of critical care experience. Aranzazu has worked in the Tele ICU since 2014, serving as a resource to the bedside staff and remotely monitoring ICU patients in the WakeMed Cary and Raleigh Campuses.

Jennifer Elliott, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, PCCN

Jennifer has over 20 years at WakeMed, with established expertise in cardiac, medical-surgical and critical care. As an Advanced Practice RN, Jennifer is recognized by the North Carolina Board of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and is nationally certified in Adult Health (APRN, ACNS-BC) with a focus on identifying and leading initiatives to assure quality and safety for our critical care population. She is actively involved and passionate about the quality initiative for sepsis care at WakeMed.

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