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Health & Safety

HMC Critical Care Specialist Warns: Anyone Can Develop Sepsis

World Sepsis Day

In recognition of World Sepsis Day, recognised annually every 13 September, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is raising awareness about the dangers of sepsis and promoting the importance of early detection and treatment among healthcare staff and members of the public.

HMC Sepsis InfoWhat is Sepsis?

Sepsis is a serious illness which results from an infection that alters the body’s normal response, causing injury to tissue and organs. Once contracted, sepsis and septic shock can quickly lead to organ failures, affecting the lungs, kidneys, and liver. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, around 30 million people die of sepsis across the world every year.

HMC Director of the Medical Critical Care Division and Chair of the Sepsis Steering Committee, Dr Ibrahim Fawzy Hassan explained that some people have a higher risk of developing sepsis than others. He said that anyone can develop sepsis, whether at home or in hospital, and some people are more at risk, especially if they have a compromised immune system like babies, elderly people, patients with chronic diseases, and those who are on immuno-suppressive medication.

The best way to help prevent sepsis from occurring is through the practice of good hygiene – hand washing and other infection prevention practices, having safe water and sanitation, sanitary food preparation and nutrition, and getting proper vaccinations.’

Dr Fawzy said that it is essential that the illness is diagnosed as early as possible and that appropriate antibiotic treatment is administered. Treatment for severe cases of sepsis must be given within one hour of diagnosis, often referred to as the ‘golden hour’.

HMC’s System-Wide Sepsis Programme

In recent years, HMC has been working to implement a system-wide sepsis programme with a standardised care pathway that facilitates early detection and treatment. The programme, which was developed in collaboration with international experts, is currently being piloted across several HMC hospitals.

Dr Ahmed Labib, Senior Consultant at the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Hamad General Hospital, said that in recent years HMC, in collaboration with international experts, has introduced a sepsis programme to standardise care pathways for patients with suspected sepsis. He said that the development of the programme has been a very complex undertaking.

There are different schools of thought relating to how best to diagnose sepsis and when and what treatment to administer to which patient group. We have conducted a lot of research to develop a robust and sustainable, evidence-based programme that is right for our clinical system.’

Dr Labib added that the sepsis programme was part of a comprehensive patient safety agenda initiated at HMC in 2017 and includes key definitions, treatment guidelines, and staff roles and responsibilities. The programme is supported through the efforts of Qatar’s National Patient Safety Collaborative (NPSC), which is intended to help build a national learning network.

Dr Nawal Al Tamimi, Leader of the NPSC and Executive Director of the Hamad Healthcare Quality Institute (HHQI), said the emphasis being placed on national efforts to tackle sepsis underscores the shared understanding that integration across the health sector is an essential ingredient in the delivery of system-wide improvements.

While clinicians at HMC have worked on a range of quality improvement projects over the past few years, the Ministry of Public Health mandated that sepsis care form the first line of defence in the comprehensive management of a series of significant health challenges by inter-professional and multi-disciplinary teams working across the public healthcare sector.’

This week, staff at HMC will participate in activities in recognition of Qatar Patient Safety Week led by the Ministry of Public Health. In its fourth year, Qatar Patient Safety Week is held from 16 to 22 September. It is a national initiative created to raise awareness of patient safety and related concepts among all healthcare providers and members of the public.

For updates and more information about HMC’s Sepsis Programme, visit hamad.qa

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