Sepsis is a public health crisis … yet most New Yorkers haven’t even heard of sepsis, a condition that: ends up killing more people than cancer; occurs more commonly than a heart attack; is the number-one driver of hospital readmissions in New York State; and the single most expensive medical condition nationwide.

One of the few instances where people hear of sepsis is when they enter the hospital. There, a patient might learn of the infection risks that can quickly lead to sepsis-related organ failure, loss of limbs, or death … yet, 80% of sepsis cases actually occur in the community or in an individual’s home, not in the hospital.

Sepsis is an inflammatory response to an infection, often with fatal results. It can cause organ failure, septic shock, a precipitous drop in blood pressure – and death.

Because sepsis risk is not adequately assessed or diagnosed across health care settings, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 72% of people who contract this extremely life-threatening condition often got the illness even though they had just recently been seen by a medical practitioner.

HCA gratefully acknowledges the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) for its support of this work. The mission of NYSHealth is to expand health insurance coverage, increase access to high-quality health care services, and improve public and community health. The views presented here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the New York State Health Foundation or its directors, officers, and staff.