Sepsis cases up to 48 at Limerick Maternity in 2016

Fintan Walsh


Fintan Walsh

The HSE’s annual sepsis report for 2016 states there was a 433% hike in sepsis cases at UMHL

The HSE’s annual sepsis report for 2016 states there was a 433% hike in sepsis cases at UMHL

THERE WERE up to 48 cases of sepsis reported at University Maternity Hospital Limerick in 2016, the Leader has learned.

This follows the publication of the HSE’s annual sepsis report, which stated that there had been a 433% increase in detections at the Ennis Road hospital.

This major increase has been attributed to improvement in education and awareness around the disease, and an increased reporting of sepsis using enhanced tools, a spokesperson said.

“This means appropriate treatments can be given sooner with better outcomes,” she said. 

The spokesperson said that because maternity sepsis cases recorded are low in each hospital “individual hospital data are not reported to protect patient confidentiality”.

However, it is understood that, before the 433% increase in 2016, there were “single figure” cases at UMHL in 2015.

Sepsis, commonly referred to as ‘blood poisoning’, is a severe infection affecting the whole body. It can cause serious illness and even death. The life-threatening condition arises when the body’s response to infection results in organ dysfunction or failure.

“Anyone can develop sepsis, but it is more likely to develop in babies, frail elderly people, those with catheters, intravenous devices such as drips or  people who have had surgery or who are receiving treatments  which weaken the immune system,” she said. 

To mark World Sepsis Day last Wednesday, staff at UL Hospitals raised awareness on the management of the disease.

In June 2016, UMHL took part in a national scheme, to pilot a maternity sepsis form, “a clinical decision support tool designed to help clinicians in the recognition and management of maternal sepsis”.

Sepsis has a 19% mortality rate in Ireland, which is line with the OECD average.

UL Hospitals’ sepsis lead, Yvonne Young, said that early detection and treatment “gives the patient the best possible chance to survive sepsis, to have the best outcome and best quality of life possible afterwards”.

The UL Hospitals Group is inviting the public to a lecture on sepsis, at the Clinical Education Research Centre at University Hospital Limerick on October 17. This is part of a series of upcoming lectures under the Healthy Ireland initiative.