There is a heightened awareness about sepsis and the need to given antibiotics early if sepsis is suspected. However, health services nationally continue to report adverse outcomes due to sepsis not being recognised early enough and/or antibiotics not being commenced in a timely manner. There may still be a belief that a focus of infection needs to be found before antibiotics can be commenced.
Sepsis may present in many different ways – our job is to consider the possibility for almost every single episode of illness. Early consultation with a senior is vital. Refer to local guidelines or the eTG for antibiotic choice (severe sepsis and septic shock chapter).
Remember that oncology and haematology patients are managed using the febrile neutropenia pathway; and again, refer early.