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Chuck  Brown died of multi-organ failure from sepsis and one American dies from it every 2 minutes, but so few people have ever heard of it.

Sepsis is the result of a body’s overwhelming response to an infection. When bacteria get into the bloodstream, the body’s immune system mobilizes to fight them. But if the infection is left unchecked, the body’s own defenses can rage out of control.

“The body says, ‘Hey, we have some attackers here, let’s go fight them,'” says Dr. Nathan Shapiro, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It makes chemicals called cytokines and other factors as part of the inflammatory response.”

But as Shapiro explains it, if the underlying infection is not treated, the response itself can cause organ damage and death.

The problem is that, in its early stages, sepsis causes symptoms that aren’t much different from those of a viral infection that will go away on its own. Consequently, sorting out who can go home from the emergency department and who needs quick hospitalization can be tough.

Read more at ABC News

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