Sepsis: One of the Deadliest and Least Understood Killers

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


           It’s one of the most common reasons people die…and it’s one of the least known. Actress Patty Duke and boxer Muhammad Ali are two of the most recent celebrities to succumb to the disease. Every year, severe sepsis strikes more than a million Americans. It’s been estimated that between 28 and 50 percent of these people die—far more than the number of U.S. deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. Yet few people, including many doctors, understand what it is and why it’s so deadly.

            Dr. Steven Simpson is a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at The University of Kansas Hospital who has spent years treating patients with severe sepsis and educating the public and fellow physicians about its little known but deadly effects. As part of Sepsis Awareness Month, Dr. Simpson has made a public service announcement outlining the facts and dangers of sepsis.

            In a separate interview, Dr. Simpson talks about the Sepsis Alliance, a national awareness organization, and the heartbreaking reason for its inception. He also explains why a whole month is devoted to public awareness of sepsis, the steps taken at The University of Kansas Hospital to fight the disease, the signs and symptoms of sepsis, and why those patients 65 to 80 years old are three times as likely to die from it. He also tells how The University of Kansas Hospital is reaching out to other hospitals to help stop the number of deaths from sepsis.