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About half of all hospital deaths could be sepsis-related. We don't have the means to prevent them

February 15, 2019 / Eli Richman

Sepsis is a leading cause of death in hospitals, spurring investigations into how preventable it might be. But according to research published in JAMA Network Open Friday, significant innovation is needed before it can really be addressed. That's because most patients who die of sepsis also have multiple underlying conditions. These conditions are often potentially deadly, and frequently make patients eligible for hospice care. In fact, many of the patients who ultimately die of sepsis have been transferred between hospice and the hospital. "Patients with sepsis who died or were discharged to hospice frequently had severe underlying diseases such as cancer, dementia, or heart failure. In addition, in the study cohort, 40.4% of patients who died with sepsis had a hospice-qualifying condition on admission, illustrating the prominent role of chronic illness as a risk factor for sepsis," Laura Evans, M.D., wrote in an invited commentary accompanying the article.