Hospital testing new way to spot killer condition

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A PROCESS that may reduce the 37,000 deaths a year from sepsis is being tested at West Suffolk Hospital.

The hospital, with Luton and Dunstable Hospital, is being used trial a way of checking for the condition while patients are still in the ambulance. The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) is working with Dr Ron Daniels, chairman of the UK Sepsis Group.

EEAST clinical general manager Matt Broad said: “The symptoms of sepsis are what you would expect from any infection – temperature and heart rate increases. The difference with sepsis is that your body’s reaction starts to affect the organs. The body starts to injure itself. ”

The new idea is to use a written ‘pathway’ to give ambulance crews a step by step approach to checking the symptoms and if they suspect sepsis they run a test on lactate levels in the blood to confirm it.

Mr Broad said that at the moment the ambulance crew would alert the hospital that they had a sepsis case coming in.

“The sooner they get intravenous antibiotics, the better their chances of recovery,” he said. Eventually this may be done in the ambulance, but that depends on the outcome of the trial.

Mr Broad said: “We’ve applied for research money so we will be able to have a research assistant. Not only will we be able to see it’s a good method for assessing patients but we’ll be able to look at the outcomes for patients.”

To find out more about sepsis and research on it, visit