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New York health officials look for ways to prevent deaths from sepsis

In July, we wrote about one Queens boys' untimely death. The 11-year-old was brought to the emergency room in April when he began vomiting and developed a high fever. However, doctors at NYU Langone Medical Center failed to recognize that the young boy was suffering from sepsis and sent him home. He later died.

Now health officials in the state are planning to take steps to prevent more deaths from sepsis. The state health commissioner wants to require that hospitals in New York develop a set of best practices so that medical professionals can identify sepsis in its early stages and begin treating patients in a timely manner.

"The state is taking unprecedented measures to prevent and effectively treat sepsis in health care facilities across the state and is looking at a wide range of additional measures to better protect patients," a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Progress has been made in the way physicians detect and treat heart attacks in the last few decades. Twenty years ago, when patients came to the emergency room with chest pain they may have been ignored. Now medical professionals are alert to the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Health officials hope to make the same kind of progress in the detection and treatment of sepsis.

People rely on medical professionals to explore a variety of options when it comes to properly diagnosing and treating patients. Had the doctors that cared for the 11-year-old boy from Queens considered sepsis as a potential reason for his condition he may be alive today.

Source: The New York Times, "One Boy's Death Moves State to Action to Prevent Others," Jim Dwyer, Dec. 20, 2012

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