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Sepsis and spirit, part 1: damage from infection complications

There are certain words that cannot help but cause fear and anxiety in the context of medical treatment. One of those is of course cancer, which speaks for itself.

But there are others as well. As we will discuss in this two-part post, "sepsis" is also a word that stands for health challenges of an extremely daunting nature.

In this part of the post, we will give a general explanation of what sepsis is. In part two, we will discuss sepsis in the context of a case in which an 11-year-old girl lost her legs after suffering from it.

Sepsis is part of the larger problem of hospital-acquired infections. Some of these infections are the result of medical malpractice and some are not.

Fortunately, all infections do not turn out to be dangerous. But when an infection results in the complication known as sepsis, it is very serious and may even be life-threatening.

Sepsis involves the release of chemicals by the body into the bloodstream in the course of fighting an infection. This release can result in inflammation within the body that triggers other potentially damaging changes.

These changes can damage major organ systems. When such systems fail, blood flow to key parts of the body is cut off. This can result in harm to the heart and kidneys, as well as to the brain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the mortality rate for people who go into septic shock after organ systems fail approaches 50 percent.

Even if someone survives sepsis, however, the damage can be life-altering. In part two of this post, we will discuss the story of an 11-year child who has shown inspiring resilience in the face of such a challenge.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Sepsis"

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