As a former nurse and member of the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services, the health and well-being of Indiana residents is one of my highest priorities. Recently, it was brought to my attention that Indiana ranks among the worst states in the country for diagnosing and treating sepsis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana had more than 1,200 sepsis-related deaths in 2017. Sepsis is the body’s extreme response to an infection and if left without timely treatment, could result in tissue damage, organ failure or death.

A patient with sepsis may exhibit common cold and flu symptoms and not know that they are septic. Symptoms for sepsis include, but are not limited to increased heart rate, fever, shivering, chills, confusion or disorientation, shortness of breath, extreme pain or discomfort, and clammy or sweaty skin.

While sepsis is curable if treated promptly, diagnosing and treating sepsis is challenging. To improve sepsis diagnosis and treatment, the Indiana General Assembly recently passed House Enrolled Act 1275.

HEA 1275 establishes the Sepsis Treatment Guideline Task Force, requiring stakeholders to develop a sepsis diagnosis and treatment guideline plan. Once guidelines have been accepted by all stakeholders, Indiana hospitals are required to implement and periodically update the diagnosis and treatment guidelines to ensure that Indiana residents are receiving the industry’s best care.

As a member of the Sepsis Treatment Guideline Task Force, it is my hope that all stakeholders may achieve the collective goal of improving our state’s sepsis diagnoses and treatment rates. This is a serious health crisis and leaving this issue unaddressed will lead to continued loss and a poor quality of life for residents who suffer from sepsis’ lasting effects.

To learn more about sepsis diagnoses and treatment, visit the CDC website and search “sepsis.” To learn more about HEA 1275, visit iga.in.gov/legislative/house/1275.

I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns, regarding this topic or other legislative topics that I can address at Senator.Leising@iga.in.gov or by calling 800-382-9467.