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September is Sepsis Awareness Month

Montrose Memorial Hospital Recognizes September as Sepsis Awareness Month

September is Sepsis Awareness Month. Montrose Memorial Hospital – which is performing better than the national average on sepsis-related measures – wants to inform the public about the dangers of sepsis, which kills more people than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined.

Sepsis is the body’s response to infection and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Most often, sepsis begins outside the hospital, but it is the job of healthcare providers to quickly diagnose this dangerous condition and treat the patient accordingly.

Nearly 23,000 Coloradans were diagnosed with sepsis in 2017 and it continues to be a crucial health condition that Montrose Memorial Hospital is working to quickly diagnose and treat.

“Basically, we have a team approach to early recognition of sepsis— because with early recognition comes better outlook, success and integration,” said Dr. Justin Tanner, internist with Cedar Point Health and hospitalist for Montrose Memorial Hospital. The hospital developed a protocol to more easily recognize the signs of sepsis in patients: when patients display particular symptoms, things happen rapidly to ensure patient safety is ensured.

  “We have success in getting the word out to our staff and providers to look for specific signs of sepsis and screening for it accordingly,” said Che Pimentel, RN with the MMH Intensive Care Unit. “We have had an increased awareness about sepsis and what we can do to help patients – for instance, beginning antibiotics and [beginning IV fluids] when sepsis is suspected.”

Dr. Tanner noted that the hospital has put a focus on being vigilant regarding the signs of sepsis – not just in September, but year round: “We’re always having Sepsis Awareness Month,” said Dr. Tanner.

The hospital wants the community to be aware of the role each person can play in preventing sepsis, which begins with watching for signs of infection and being aware of the key signs of sepsis:

S  Shivering, fever or very cold

E  Extreme pain or general discomfort

 Pale or discolored skin

S  Sleeping, difficult to rouse, confused

I  “I feel like I might die”

S  Short of breath

If you experience these symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider immediately. For more information, visit www.sepsis.org

About Montrose Memorial Hospital (www.MontroseHospital.com)

Montrose Memorial Hospital is a 501(c)3 nonprofit healthcare system serving Montrose, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Delta, Hinsdale and San Juan counties. The health system offers a 75-bed hospital and an extensive range of inpatient & outpatient health care services, including cardiology, oncology, minimally invasive surgery, laboratory, medical imaging/radiology, Mountain View Therapy, Level III Trauma Center, Acute Rehabilitation Unit and the family birthing center. The health system partners with regional providers on joint ventures to meet local healthcare needs, including CareFlight air ambulance service, San Juan Cancer Center and Black Canyon Surgical Center. Montrose Memorial is the second-largest employer in Montrose County, with more than 700 employees and 100 physicians who represent 23 medical specialties. The hospital has received patient satisfaction ratings exceeding 90% since 2010.

About the author

Leann Tobin

Leann Tobin

Leann Tobin is the Director of Community Engagement at Montrose Memorial Hospital. She has been at MMH since 1999 and participates in the strategic planning and leadership for the organization. Leann grew up in Lakewood Colorado and received her B.S. from Colorado State University. She and her husband, Pat, met while traveling in the international program Up with People. They have two sons, Bryce and Dylan.