BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State lawmakers are considering a public information campaign on sepsis to make Marylanders aware of the symptoms of the disease.
Is it the flu or something else?
If it’s sepsis, not even an ambulance may get you to help soon enough.
Senator Kathy Klausmeier’s father-in-law died of it.
“He was in a hospital and he was doing well, ready to go home, and the next day it was all over,” said bill sponsor Senator Klausmeier.
Last April, WJZ colleague Deb Kelly drove herself to the hospital thinking she had the flu. It was strep, and then sepsis the body’s toxic response to infection. She lost her hands and feet.
“The symptoms are such that sometimes people may think ‘oh, something’s not right but I’m not quite sure what.’ Symptoms are things like you think you could die. You have very high fever, shaking chills, extreme pain,” said Dr. Meena Seshamani of MedStar Health.
MedStar Health is backing Senator Klausmeier’s bill to start a statewide public information campaign on sepsis.
Sepsis is the third leading killer in the U.S., but just over half, 55 percent of people know about it.
“Why is it that so few people are aware of this. I think it’s just one of those silent killers that you don’t know you have it unless there’s an autopsy and you just get it and you don’t know,” Senator Klausmeier said.
She hopes her bill can change that.
Bill sponsors say everyone should be as aware of sepsis as they are of heart attack and stroke.
Sepsis kills more people than breast cancer, aids, and prostate cancer combined.
The bill is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.