Medical Monday: Sepsis Awareness Month

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A common condition like pneumonia or urinary tract infection can lead to a deadly condition called sepsis.

"Sepsis is actually your body's response to an infection. Your body can respond by having an inflammation process. That's when the tissues and the organs begin to die once you have sepsis," explained Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Sepsis Coordinator Janna Martin.

Martin works closely with physicians to help identify sepsis quickly in patients.

"It is a spectrum of disease, and you can progress along that spectrum very rapidly. Once that cascade kicks in, your body's response to the infection, it can spiral out of control very quickly," said Dr. James Tackett.

Dr. Tackett says the nationwide mortality for sepsis is 50 to 60-percent. At Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, the mortality rate is significantly less at 11-percent.

One tool medical professionals use is the Vigileo system that gives beat by beat monitoring of the patient's heart, oxygen levels, and other systems to determine what treatment is needed.

Doctors say anyone who develops an infection can be at risk, but prompt treatment increases the survival rate. Warning signs include shivering, fever, a racing heart, confusion, or clammy skin.