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Sepsis is chief killer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital figures reveal




More people died after being admitted to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital with septicaemia than any other condition, figures reveal.

New NHS data shows 250 people died after getting the infection in 2018, which is often called blood poisoning and happens when large amounts of bacteria enter the bloodstream.

It means that of the 1,750 deaths over the year in the hospital, or up to 30 days after patients were discharged, 14 per cent were linked to a diagnosis of septicaemia.

The second most common initial diagnosis for deaths at the QEH was pneumonia, with 245 patients dying.

Acute cerebrovascular disease – a cause of stroke – was third, with 80 deaths.

Acute cerebrovascular disease, which is a cause of stroke, and heart failure were also common diagnoses.

NHS Digital, which released the data, said the reason a patient was admitted may not directly correspond to their cause of death.

The picture in Lynn is slightly different from that across England, where more people died after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

Across England, the top five diagnoses resulting in deaths in or after hospital were: pneumonia (15 per cent), septicaemia (11 per cent), acute cerebrovascular disease (six per cent), heart failure (four per cent), aspiration pneumonitis (three per cent).

The death rate at the QEH was categorised as “expected” in 2018, with the difference between the number of deaths and the total expected based on averages across England falling within the anticipated range.

However, the NHS says the rate should be looked at alongside other measures when judging the performance of a trust.

Dr Frankie Swords, the QEH medical director, said: “To ensure that our patients receive fast and appropriate treatment when they arrive at the hospital, we have a robust process in place to help identify patients with sepsis.

“As a trust we have one of the lowest SHMI (Standardized Hospital Mortality Index) in the Eastern region. However, we are always looking for new ways to improve the care we provide to our patients.”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn


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