Stafford Hospital Battles Facebook Sepsis Rumor

Stafford Hospital in Virginia challenged a rumored elevated sepsis mortality rate by posting a note on the institution's wall assuring past, present, and future patients that the claims were not true.

What do you do when you read a Facebook rumor about you? Battle back on Facebook with a message of your own, of course.

Stafford Hospital in Virginia challenged a rumor about an elevated sepsis mortality rate by posting a note on Facebook assuring past, present, and future patients that the claims were not true.

According to Fredericksburg.com, a few folks in Virginia had an identical post on their walls saying:

I know of 3 people that unfortunately passed away from sepsis in the recent month at this hospital…every individual went in for normal procedures & within days passed away from sepsis. Obviously there is a serious problem @ the hospital they are not going to release to the public please pass this on to anyone that you care about & love!

The hospital battled back with this message:

We have become aware of an internet rumor claiming that sepsis mortality at Stafford Hospital is elevated. We want to correct this inaccuracy. The New England Journal of Medicine reports most hospitals have 30-60% mortality rate for patients with sepsis. Stafford Hospital has a less than 14 percent mortality rate for these patients. In fact, national 2010 data indicates that the average mortality rate for similar sized hospitals is 33.3 percent. Clearly, Stafford Hospital continues to provide excellent and safe care to our patients.

Hospital spokesperson Debbie McInnis said about the rumor, “It’s absolutely not factual,” according to the article.

Sepsis is an illness caused by a bacterial infection that can start anywhere in the body. According to a recent study by a project called Extending the Cure, sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections killed 48,000 in the U.S in 2006.

Despite the fact the disease is very real, the Facebook message reeks of spam. We give props to the hospital’s page for confronting the rumors head on and fighting back with statistics.

Would you avoid a particular hospital if you read on Facebook that the institution had above-average disease problems?