How preventive measures could prevent 70,000 sepsis deaths each year

A simple blood test and adoption of a protocol could save nearly 70,000 Americans each year from dying of sepsis in hospitals, according to an article by Donald Berwick, M.D., and Robert Pearl, M.D., published this week in Forbes. Despite these available, low-cost preventive measures, sepsis continues to be a leading cause of death in American hospitals. Berwick, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, blame the culture of medicine for physicians delaying ordering the test and implementing life-saving treatment. "Hospitals reward caution, even when it does more harm than good. Chiefs of quality investigate doctors whose actions produce a complication. But they are less likely to single out individual physicians for not being aggressive, particularly when the indications are less certain," they write. "From this perspective, not ordering the test in the first place is the safest action--not for the patient, but for the physician." Article