Promising New Treatment for Sepsis

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition associated with an inflammatory response to infection that has the potential to cause multiple organ failure. Sepsis kills more people in the hospital than any other disease. Worldwide, Sepsis is estimated to impact 15 to 19 million people annually with a mortality rate approaching 60% in low income countries.

Many people in the scientific and medical communities are hoping that the findings of Dr. Paul Marik in the Journal Chest will revolutionize the treatment of Sepsis. Dr. Marik, working from preliminary research findings by Dr. Berry Fowler and his colleagues at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, began treating septic patients with an intravenous cocktail of vitamin C, low dose of corticosteroids, and thiamine (another vitamin).

After Dr. Marik treated 50 patients, he submitted his results to Chest. Of 47 patients treated with the vitamin C cocktail, only four died in the hospital. Of the four deaths, all were from their underlying diseases – not from sepsis. For a control, Dr. Marik looked back at 47 septic patients treated previously in his hospital without vitamin C infusion and found that 19 had died. While the data is still suggestive, the outlook is promising.

Dr. Fowler and his laboratory at VCU was recently awarded a $3.2 million grant from the NIH to run a controlled study to examine the use of vitamin C to treat sepsis. The study will be conducted at several universities and be double-blinded (information about the test kept from the testers and participants) as to limit bias, both intentional or unconscious.

We are excited about the potential of this research and the tremendous potential this will have on both patients and the healthcare industry.

We learned of the success and studies from NPR, in their article Doctor Turns Up Possible Treatment for Deadly Sepsis.

“Behavioral Health Is Part of Overall Health”

“Behavioral Health is part of overall Health,” said Debra Osteen, NAPHS board chair and president of behavioral health, Universal Health Services, Inc. at the start of the recent NAPHS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. This statement came as no surprise to the many Mental Health professionals attending this yearly conference.

Speaker after speaker talked about the state of mental health care today and the need to seamlessly integrate Mental Health services into the overall medical care provided by family practice physicians and patient care facilities of all types. Because of “parity” legislation passed in congress in 2008 and the passage just last year of legislation for $1B funding  for mental health care for 2017 and 2018, one would have thought a mood of jubilation or at least a sense of well-being would have been present in the conference hall of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Conference Center.  Instead, the general mood was one of despondence.

The increasing effects of the opioid pandemic are on the minds of all health care professionals. The number of baby boomers who are aging and will need increasing medical services is clear to everyone. Yet, no one knows or can accurately predict how the repeal of the ACA and the proposals for new Republican health care legislation currently being debated in the House of Representatives will affect the future delivery of health care services in America. Various presenters spoke about how funding for Medicaid will be decimated, how future Medicare changes might likely come about, how billions of dollars will be removed from the budget for health care and how millions of Americans will lose access to services. One questioner, at a lunch session presentation by Hemi Tewarson, acting director for National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Health Division stated, “No matter how you slice and dice it, Congress is proposing to remove $800 B from the budget for healthcare services and nothing is being proposed to replace it.  How then are we, the health care professionals, going to deliver services to the most needy or to anyone, for that matter? ” General applause greeted this question. And no real answer was forthcoming.

Changing Perceptions: Contemporary Artworks in a Healthcare Environment

“Patients First” has always been Cleveland Clinic‘s guiding principle. A place for experimentation and innovation, the leading medical institution constantly seeks to improve patient outcomes. Their Art Program does just that.

Established in 2006 “to enrich, inspire and enliven patients, visitors, employees and the community,” the Program added 3,000 artworks to the Clinic’s existing eclectic collection. Today, over 5,000 artworks in all media: prints, works on paper, photography, sculpture, and video fill in the Clinic’s 23.5 million square feet of real estate.

“Art provides color and warmth, distraction from personal anxiety, Joanne Cohen, Executive Director and Curator of the Cleveland Clinic Art Program told E4H. “It provides moments of levity, lightheartedness and beauty. It alleviates stress and ameliorates patients’ experience.”

Wayfinding is another consideration. The clinic often uses art as a navigational tool. People come in. They are stressed. They can’t remember how to find the doctor, where the emergency room is or where they are parked. Art can help them find their way.

In addition, all studies performed at Cleveland Clinic related to the therapeutic benefits of art revealed its positive impact on patients’ stress, their comfort levels and overall satisfaction.

“Most people said their mood had been somewhat, if not significantly, improved by interacting with the artwork,” she added. “Hopefully this mood improvement will lead to shorter hospital stays and less need for paid medication. In any case, anything we can do to give patients something else to look at or to think about, distract them and take them out of that difficult moment is a win-win situation.”