Sepsis & EMS Survey

February 20, 2019

sepsis, sepsis alliance Sepsis and EMS Survey, sepsis

Only 52% of EMS Practitioners Report a Very High Level of  Confidence in  Recognizing Sepsis – the Third Leading Cause of Death in the United States

Sepsis Alliance and NAEMT survey finds that increased sepsis education is urgently needed for EMS personnel.

San Diego, Calif, February 20, 2019 – Today, Sepsis Alliance and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) released the results of their Sepsis and EMS survey. The survey results find that only 52% of the more than 1,300 EMS practitioners surveyed are very confident in their ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of sepsis – the body’s life-threatening response to infection.  The survey was conducted from January 17, 2019 to January 29, 2019.

Each year in the United States, 1.7 million people are diagnosed with sepsis and 270,000 of them die. EMS practitioners transport more than 50% of all sepsis cases to the hospital emergency department. Despite the prevalence of sepsis and their proximity to the condition, one in five EMS practitioners reported that their organization does not have a sepsis-specific protocol and about one in three reported that their organization is not well prepared to address a patient with sepsis.

“Prehospital sepsis care should be a priority for every EMS organization,” said Dr. Craig Manifold, Medical Director, NAEMT.  “Through our partnership with Sepsis Alliance, NAEMT is committed to providing prehospital clinicians with the education to recognize and treat sepsis in the field.”

“These survey results highlight the vital need for increased sepsis education and awareness among first responders, their in-hospital counterparts, and the general public,” said Thomas Heymann, President and Executive Director, Sepsis Alliance.

Even when patients are showing signs of sepsis, 58% of respondents reported that not all hospitals initiate a sepsis protocol and 25% said that physicians don’t like to diagnose patients with it. This reluctance to diagnose and treat sepsis patients could cost lives. Mortality from sepsis increases by as much as 8% for every hour that treatment is delayed.

“Although sepsis alerts are being implemented more widely, these survey results make it evident that EMS professionals still need to advocate for their patients and say, ‘I suspect sepsis!’” said Rom Duckworth, award-winning EMS educator, career fire captain, and EMS coordinator with 30 years of experience. “First responders who are trained to recognize and treat sepsis in the field can save lives.”

To download the Sepsis and EMS Survey findings, please visit Sepsis Alliance also provides a sepsis training module and education resources for first responders, which can be found on


About Sepsis Alliance

Sepsis Alliance is the leading sepsis organization in the U.S., working in all 50 states to save lives and reduce suffering by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. In 2011, Sepsis Alliance designated September as Sepsis Awareness Month to bring healthcare professionals and community members together in the fight against sepsis. In 2018, Sepsis Alliance created the award-winning national campaign, It’s About T.I.M.E., to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of sepsis and to highlight the urgent need to seek treatment when symptoms are recognized. Sepsis Alliance gives a voice to the millions of people who have been touched by sepsis – to the survivors, and the friends and family members of those who have survived or who have died. Since 2007, sepsis awareness in the U.S. has risen from 19% to 65%. Sepsis Alliance is a GuideStar Gold Rated charity. For more information, please visit Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter at @SepsisAlliance.



Formed in 1975 and more than 67,000 members strong, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians is the only national association representing the professional interests of all emergency and mobile healthcare practitioners, including emergency medical technicians, advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical responders, paramedics, advanced practice paramedics, critical care paramedics, flight paramedics, community paramedics, and mobile integrated healthcare practitioners. NAEMT members work in all sectors of EMS, including government agencies, fire departments, hospital-based ambulance services, private companies, industrial and special operations settings, and in the military. | Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by a partnership between Sepsis Alliance and National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT). The interviews were conducted from January 17 – 29, 2019 among 1,310 adults ages 18 and older who have a primary role in EMS and provides direct patient care. The sample utilized for the online survey was the NAEMT membership list. For further information, please contact