Sepsis: Little-known illness that is leading cause of hospital deaths in U.S.

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DENVER -- A leading cause of hospital deaths in the U.S. is sepsis, but for whatever reason the illness is unknown to most Americans.

To raise awareness and to save lives, patient safety advocates are trying to get more of us to mention sepsis when they begin to feel "the worst they have ever felt."

“We know the cure can be rapid treatment with intravenous fluids thru an IV and antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Zane, ER Chairman at University of Colorado Hospital. “We know the CDC indicates sepsis related hospital visits increased from 621,000 in 2000 to 1.1 million in 2008, so what we want people to do is mention sepsis when they come in for treatment and doctors can’t seem to find out what is making them feel sickly.”

Sepsis must be suspected before it can be treated is what that means.

By getting fluids to fight the infection it helps the body make sure enough blood and oxygen gets to your cells and tissues.

More than 258,000 died each year from sepsis, which is more than breast, lung and prostate cancer combined. It's a medical emergency that requires early detection and treatment for survival.

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