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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Stafford Hospital fighting Facebook postings about sepsis

Stafford Hospital is challenging what it says is an “Internet rumor” about an elevated sepsis mortality rate. “It’s absolutely not factual,” said Debbie McInnis, Stafford spokeswoman, this morning.

Stafford officials took to their Facebook page Friday night to defend the hospital and combat what they say are the postings of three people on their individual Facebook pages.

The hospital’s post said, “We have become aware of an internet rumor claiming that sepsis mortality at Stafford Hospital is elevated. We want to correct this inaccuracy. The New England Journal of Medicine reports most hospitals have 30-60% mortality rate for patients with sepsis. Stafford Hospital has a less than 14% mortality rate for these patients. In fact, national 2010 data indicates that the average mortality rate for similar sized hospitals is 33.3%.”

A search of Facebook this morning found two postings about Stafford Hospital and sepsis. The postings are from three days ago and are on the individual Facebook pages of Rebecca Hensley of Shenandoah, Va.,  and Emily Bierlein Serraro. The postings are identical and warn people not to go to Stafford.

The posting says: “I know of 3 people that unfortunately passed away from sepsis in the recent month at this hospital…every individual went in for normal procedures & within days passed away from sepsis. Obviously there is a serious problem @ the hospital they are not going to release to the public please pass this on to anyone that you care about & love!”

Neither person responded this morning to Facebook messages, asking for comment.

Sepsis is a serious, system-wide response to an infection. Usually, sepsis results from a bacterial infection. It is often acquired in a hospital.

(For more details, see the story here in Tuesday’s paper.)

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/rapidassessment/2011/02/14/stafford-hospital-fighting-facebook-postings/

  • L Whitesell

    My Dad passed away from Sepsis, but not at the Stafford Hospital…. we have had two good experiences at the Stafford Hospital, just sharing…

  • Mitch

    trolls.

  • Peg

    First of all to the people who posted this (if you actually lost someone and this wasn’t simple a cut and paste chain post) I am sorry for your losses and I wish you the best in your life without them. This seems to be a classic example of people with to little information spreading what they think is good advise. Its always best to research this kind of info before you make a blanket statement like this one. Glad to hear Stafford Hospital is NOT overrun with sepsis.

  • Renee

    “Statistics are like lamposts to a drunkard. More for support than for illumination. ” – Churchill

    I see the hospital gave statistics comparing to national averages, but is the post true? The post does not speak of “elevation”. It speaks of 3 people they knew who passed away last month at the hospital from sepsis and calls that a serious problem.

    Let us get some real reporting on the issue instead of being the hospital’s PR liason!

  • Buster

    Looks like Jim has discovered Facebook! Good to have in your armamentarium of armchair journalism.

  • http://cruisetip.tpkeller.com TPKeller

    Very interesting report. First, here’s the actual text as posted:

    TO EVERYONE. THIS IS SERIOUS&IMPORTANT, DO NOT GO TO STAFFORD HOSPITAL CENTER, I KNOW OF 3 PEOPLE THAT UNFORTUNATELY PASSED AWAY FROM SEPSIS IN THE RECENT MONTH AT THIS HOSPITAL..EVERY INDIVIDUAL WENT IN FOR NORMAL PROCEDURES& WITHIN DAYS PASSED AWAY FROM SEPSIS. OBVIOUSLY THERE IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM@THE HOSPITAL&THAT THEY ARE NOT GOING TO RELEASE TO THE PUBLIC! PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ANYONE THAT YOU CARE ABOUT&LOVE!

    Second, I have very little doubt that this is just another one of those cyber-chain rumors, not worth the electrons used to pass it along.

    Finally, the hospital’s response is insufficient. Rumor status notwithstanding, the point of the post is that 3 people contracted AND died from sepsis in a month. The hospital replies by providing only their mortality rates – that is, the percentage of people who die after having contracted sepsis. The response either intentionally or inadvertently leaves out the percentage of all patients who develop sepsis and how that number compares to national and other standards.

    This leaves me to wonder why that number was not reported. Even if “mortality” rates were well below standards, if the “contraction” rates are high, that would demand an explanation.

  • Area Man

    This is an interesting case, here. I am assuming the two facebook people are telling the truth since if they weren’t they would likely both be subject to a very costly and easily actionable libel and defamation suit from Medicorp. I cannot imagine two people would be so reckless as to say something like that without checking the facts first. In any case, hopefully the reporter will uncover the truth. In the meantime, I’m washing my hands whenever I visit any hospital for any reason. I don’t want to catch that stuff.

  • happy as a lark

    these patients would be cared for in an ICU which this hospital does not have, they would be sent to MWH or elsewhere (VCU/Inova) but……… by sending patient s out to higher level facilities, they can keep their death percentages low.

  • family member

    As one of the family members of one of the 3 who passed away….. YES “happy as a lark” Stafford hospital does in fact have an ICU. This is where my family member along with the other 2 were. My family member was fine before and after routine surgery. On day 3 after surgery this person went into ICU and died within 24hrs after.

  • family member

    Also thought I would add this to the discuss….A problem in the adequate management of septic patients has been the delay in administering therapy after sepsis has been recognized. Published studies have demonstrated that for every hour delay in the administration of appropriate antibiotic therapy there is an associated 7% rise in mortality.

  • happy as a lark

    that is indeed tragic, hopefully a detailed foresenic analysis for the infectious agent is being done, would assume it to be in the hospital’s best interest as well. Seems to remind me of the issue with the cardioplegia solution a few years back at MWH. A reminder to all that there is no such thing as “routine” surgery.

  • me

    maybe the state should get to the truth

  • http://www.sepsisalliance.org Marijke

    Sepsis is a fatal illness that can be treated much of the time if it’s caught early enough. I invite you to come to visit the Sepsis Alliance site (www.sepsisalliance.org) to learn about the disease and how you can recognize it.

    Sepsis Alliance is a non-profit patient advocacy group dedicated to educating the public about sepsis.

  • Seriously?

    Happy as a lark, I think you need to get your facts straight, Stafford Hospital DOES, in fact, have an ICU

  • Chris

    Wow, I must have hit a sore spot . My post was removed and I did not say anything bad or curse. But I am learning more and more how certain news paper companies and certain big non profit hospitals have each others back. What is the real reason for this heated blog anyway, is it a intentional test to see how hated MWH is? How in the heck did this Facebpook users post to their page get in the hands of your employee anyway. You can not read someones stuff unless you are a friend of theirs. So, was it sent as a threat to MWH? Answer this administrator. What is the real subject matter here?