BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

Working Together. Accelerating Improvement

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Sepsis - Header Image


Sepsis is a condition where the body’s response to infection damages its tissues and organs. If sepsis isn’t recognized early and treated promptly it can become severe and lead to multi-organ system failure or – for more than 6 million people in the developed world each year – death.1

We have a choice.

30,000 Canadians are hospitalized each year because of sepsis. More than 30% of these patients will die.2 Does that number alarm you? It should. It’s one of our country’s highest in-hospital mortality rates.

Sepsis can be caught early, treated effectively and prevented from turning severe. The severity and poor outcomes that can result from not doing so are unacceptable.

You can make a difference by joining the BC Sepsis Network. We’re asking you to commit to treating your patients following the BC Sepsis Guidelines:

  • Know the warning signs for sepsis, identify patients exhibiting signs of sepsis early, and triage them appropriately.
  • Measure the lactate of patients with sepsis within 30 minutes of presentation to triage, have the results back within 30 minutes, and test again within 2-4 hours if the initial result is elevated.
  • Draw a blood culture prior to administering antibiotics and start a second litre of crystalloid within an hour for patients with severe sepsis/septic shock.

You are not alone. You’ll be joining over 100 physicians and nurses from across BC who have already committed to implementing the BC Sepsis Guidelines in their emergency departments and measuring their results.

Help us deliver the best care for our patients.

Despite the significant risk of morbidity and mortality from severe sepsis, adequate initial therapy is initiated for fewer than 58% of patients.3

Our vision is to reduce sepsis morbidity and mortality rates throughout BC by identifying sepsis patients early, using best clinical practices, and achieving seamless transitions of care.

Best care, no matter where.


  1. Kissoon N, Carcillo JA, Espinosa V, et al.: World federation of pediatric intensive care and critical care societies: Global sepsis initiative. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011; 12:494-503.
  2. Canadian Institute for Health Information. In focus: A national look at sepsis. Ottawa 2009.
  3. Mikkelsen ME, Gaieski DF, Goyal M, et al. Factors associated with nonadherence with early goal-directed therapy in the ED. Chest. 2010; 138(3): 551-558.

At a Glance

Interested in joining or forming a sepsis improvement team in your own hospital? Contact us today.

Key Sepsis CCM Contacts:

David Sweet
Clinical Lead

Chantale Pamplin
Quality Leader

Joanna Richards
Director, Clinical Consultation and Guidelines
Health Services Policy and Quality Assurance Division
Ministry of Health