YOUR HEALTH: Sepsis; One nurse makes a difference

Each year, about 1.7 million adults in the US develop sepsis and it kills approximately 350 thousand.
Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 6:24 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2023 at 6:28 AM CDT
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SEATTLE, Wash. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - Each year, about 1.7 million adults in the US develop sepsis and it kills approximately 350 thousand. Diagnosis is key for preventing organ failure and even death. However, with early symptoms mimicking the flu and covid, there can often be a delay in seeking care. Ivanhoe discovered a Seattle hospital whose solution to that problem saved quite a few high-risk patients.

Agnes Tabisula is not taking anything for granted these days.

She says she is one of the lucky ones who survived sepsis thanks to having a dedicated nurse in her corner.

Agnes says, “She’s not my family or she’s not even related to me, but she cares.”

Jelaine Boyce, RN Care Manager at Valley Medical Center says, “It was just a scary time for her, and I know she didn’t want to burden her family.”

Shortly after moving from Hawaii to Seattle, Tabisula was admitted to the hospital for a series of worsening conditions including a cardiac stent, a foot infection, and kidney abscess.

Hamy Dinh, Manager of Care Management Valley Medical Center explains, “She was a pretty complex case, she had five hospital admissions within the last two months.”

That’s why Valley Medical Center decided to closely monitor Tabisula remotely through their post discharge program.

Nurse, Jelaine Boyce phoned her fifteen times about her condition.

Boyce says, “... She would be honest with me. If I didn’t encourage her to get evaluated, she would have gotten sicker. She would have stayed at home.”

… which led to a sepsis diagnosis by doctors. It is the body’s toxic response to a viral or bacterial infection. And can cause organ damage or failure.

“The worst-case scenario for sepsis would be death. It can start by anything, you know, a little cut in the toe and it just worsens.” Says Boyce.

Fortunately, Tabisula’s sepsis was resolved with fluids and antibiotics.

The World Health Organization says one in five deaths globally are caused by sepsis. Warning signs of sepsis include:  fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea and vomiting.

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