First Sepsis Support Group founded in Jena

The worldwide first support group of former sepsis patients was founded in Jena at the end of the year.

Approximately 50 survivors of sepsis or involved relatives convened from all over Germany to initiate the first patient support group at the University Hospital of Jena with the support of German Sepsis Society. "Sepsis, also known as ?blood poisoning?, causes approximately 60,000 deaths annually in Germany, and is the third leading cause of death after cardiovascular diseases and ahead of cancer," recalls Dr. Frank Martin Brunkhorst, Managing Director of the German Sepsis Society and senior physician at the Jena University Hospital. Although one of two sepsis patients dies, the disease is still virtually ignored. Patients and relatives complain about the ignorance and lack of understanding on the part of health insurance associations and doctors who provide follow-up care. The diagnosis of sepsis is frequently not entered into medical records, resulting in an underestimation of the burden of the disease. Sepsis survivors such as the founders of the Jena initiative owe their survival to considerable efforts in intensive care. Often they have been through several weeks of artificial coma in intensive care units. Although patients may have positive memories because of the dedicated care they received from attending medical staff, the experience still is extremely traumatic for them and also for their relatives. Survivors may suffer from late complications such as muscle weakness and nerve dysfunction, which are unfamiliar to physicians providing follow-up care. Hubert Grönert, spokesman for the new support group and sepsis-survivor, therefore calls for an enhanced dialogue between physicians, health insurance providers, and researchers in the effort to fight against sepsis. Grönert: "We have survived, but every second sepsis patient doesn?t. We must make every effort so that thousands of people do not have to die from this disease.?