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Texas Medical Center celebrates World Sepsis Day

Houston, TX - 9/23/2013

Experts from Houston Methodist Hospital and several area medical institutions came together last week to discuss sepsis as part of "Silent Killer: Cruel Lessons, Critical Practices," an awareness event hosted by the Texas Medical Center on World Sepsis Day, Sept. 13.

Sepsis is a serious, life-threatening infection that occurs when bacteria from the skin, lungs, abdomen, or urinary tract enters the bloodstream. Those who survive severe sepsis are more likely to have permanent organ damage, cognitive impairment, and physical disability. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of hospitalizations for sepsis has more than doubled in the last decade, resulting in longer, costlier hospital stays and more fatal outcomes for patients with the infection.

Attendees were invited to the University of Texas Health Science Center to view information booths and exhibits from several hospitals prior to the main program, a panel discussion featuring sepsis experts from Houston Methodist Hospital, Memorial Herman Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Children's Hospital, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Physicians fielded questions from moderator Maureen Disbot, Houston Methodist vice president of quality operations. Topics included infection symptoms, treatment, prevention, and research. Attendees also heard touching personal stories from people who have been directly affected sepsis. Helen Haskell, president of Mothers Against Medical Error, opened the event by sharing how the sepsis caused death of her teenage son and subsequently changed the trajectory of her life. Later, Damian Duran, a 16-year-old sepsis survivor, gave a moving recollection of his own harrowing experience with the infection.

Dr. Faisal Masud, Houston Methodist's critical care medical director, was a featured member on the panel. The early detection protocols to prevent sepsis that he has helped develop at the Houston Methodist Hospital have saved more than 600 patients.

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