A team of Saint Michael’s Medical Center health care professionals
from a variety of specialties has developed a kit designed to make it
easier for staff to identify, treat and monitor sepsis, a life-threatening
medical emergency that is the leading killer of patients in hospitals.
“Hospitals across the country struggle with sepsis,” said Dr.
Claudia Komer, one of the chief medical officers at Saint Michael’s.
“At Saint Michael’s, we worked with our medical professionals
to develop a kit that would make it much easier to treat patients with
Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is life-threatening,
and without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage,
organ failure, and death. Each year in the U.S., more than 1.5 million
people develop sepsis, and at least 250,000 Americans die as a result.
Sepsis is such a major issue that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
last year launched “Get Ahead of Sepsis,” an initiative that
calls on healthcare professionals to educate patients, prevent infections,
suspect and identify sepsis early, and start sepsis treatment fast.
Saint Michael’s was recently named a Five-Star Recipient for the
treatment of sepsis by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for information
about doctors and hospitals.
The kit was developed by a team consisting of Cindy Tooley-Pierce, nurse
educator, Joan Florczyk, nurse manager, and Jenny Lindo, medical/surgical/telemetry
charge nurse. The kit contains everything that is needed to treat sepsis,
including fluids and antibiotics that are recommended in sepsis treatment
Florczyk said the requirement to treat sepsis patients quickly was the
reason the kit was developed.
“Time is of the essence,” said Florczyk. “The sooner
we can identify and treat a patient with sepsis, the better the outcome.”
Once a patient is diagnosed with sepsis, certain steps must be taken immediately
to ensure the patient’s survival. A Sepsis Rapid Response Team is
called and immediately begins administering antibiotics and fluids and
ordering blood work.
“The medical staff is not wasting any time, it’s all there
in the kit,” Lindo said. “Our staff does not have to run to
12 different places to get all the supplies that are needed.”
The kits are not currently offered by any medical supply companies. In
fact, the bag that holds all the supplies is a simple Ziploc bag purchased
at a grocery store.
“This is a great example of our staff seeing a need to improve quality
of care delivered,” Komer said. “On their own they came up
with ideas that were clearly very effective. They did an extraordinary