The latest National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) report into sepsis, a common but life-threatening condition, shows that 45% of those patients included in the study who were admitted to hospital with no other obvious functional problems, either suffered from a disabling condition at discharge or died with sepsis.
Sepsis is a leading cause of avoidable death in the UK, and kills more people than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. The condition occurs when the body is overwhelmed by an infection. In severe sepsis organs fail and in some cases this leads to septic shock (when blood pressure drops to a dangerously low level) and death. It is estimated that 65,000 people a year in the UK survive sepsis, but some suffer a long-term disability such as amputation and irreversible damage to lungs, heart and kidneys.