Paul Allen’s Cause of Death Revealed to Be Septic Shock, a Known Complication of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
 By Miles Harris [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By Miles Harris [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

On October 15th, 2018, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, passed away at the age of 65 at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. While his cause of death was originally reported as “complications” of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, newly available documents (via TMZ) reveal his proximate cause of death was septic shock, resulting from underlying lymphoma-associated immunosuppression.

This is a profoundly sad outcome, but by no means a surprising one. There is a strong and undeniable relationship between cancer, its detrimental effects on the immune system, and the subsequent development of infections that lead to sepsis and septic shock. Cancer of all types increases the risk of developing sepsis by 10-fold(1). In addition, cancer patients have a 55% higher chance of dying from sepsis than noncancer patients(2).

The immune system of a cancer patient can be markedly suppressed by the cancer itself or by medications used to treat the cancer. This leads to a reduced ability to fight deadly bugs, as well as common organisms found throughout our environment, which generally do not pose a threat to healthy individuals. As a result, infections lead to sepsis which is often the final common pathway to death for cancer patients.

Sepsis remains one of the most underestimated (and under-reported) health threats worldwide, affecting 27 to 32 million people annually, of which 7 to 9 million die. Sepsis affects both rich and poor alike, although the burden is heavily weighted to the poor. However, early recognition and treatment can save many lives.

 

About Sepsis

Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Sepsis is an emergency; it may lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and death, especially if not recognized early and treated promptly. Sepsis is most common in people with compromised immune systems, like the very young, the very old, and those with chronic diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. But people can also develop sepsis from a simple scrape, wound, or burn injury. Septic shock is the most severe end of the spectrum. Organs begin to shut down and, unchecked, multi‐organ failure and death can ensue. Many patients who survive suffer from long-term disabilities.

 

About Paul Allen

Paul Allen was an American business magnate, philanthropist, and investor. He is best known for founding Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. He was estimated to be one of the wealthiest persons in the world, with an estimated net worth of $21.7 billion. He had a multibillion-dollar investment portfolio, including technology, real estate holdings, media companies, scientific research, and more. He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Stratolaunch Systems. Over the course of his life, Allen gave more than $2 billion to education and arts, wildlife and environmental conservation, community services, healthcare, and more.

 

About the Global Sepsis Alliance and the World Sepsis Day Movement

The Global Sepsis Alliance (GSA) is a non-profit charity organization with the mission to provide global leadership to reduce the worldwide burden of sepsis. The GSA is initiator of World Sepsis Day on September 13th every year and World Sepsis Congress, a series of free online congresses bringing knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world.

 

Press Release

A press release and contact persons for interviews are available.

 

Learn More About Sepsis

 

References

1. Martin et al. N Engl J Med; 348:1546 –1554; 2003.
2. Danai PA et al. CritCare Med 129:1432-1440;2006.

Marvin Zick
2nd WSC Report: Statistics and Numbers from the 2nd World Sepsis Congress
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Thank you so much for participating in the 2nd World Sepsis Congress. It was a huge success, thanks to you.

We had 20,000 registrations from more than 166 countries, which is simply amazing. Even more important to us is that 57 % of our audience joined from low- and middle-income countries - many of those would have never been able to afford to travel to a physical congress. This truly emphasizes our mission with World Sepsis Congress - to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world.

We are also very happy with your feedback - both the overall congress, the speakers, and the content were very much liked by you. You can see the full report embedded below and download it as a PDF. Feel free to share this report with interested colleagues or friends.

 
 

As you know, the 2nd World Sepsis Congress featured 103 renowned experts from 29 countries who gave 10-minute presentations on all aspects of sepsis over the course of 17 sessions and two days. Everything took place online and was completely free of charge, enabling everybody everywhere to participate and learn about sepsis, the most preventable cause of death worldwide. The sessions of the congress are released to YouTube and Apple Podcasts on Thursdays. Please visit the congress website for the full release schedule.

 

The 3rd World Sepsis Congress is planned for Fall 2020. For 2019, we will be hosting another World Sepsis Congress Spotlight, a smaller satellite congress shining a spotlight on one particular aspect of sepsis. Make sure to sign the World Sepsis Declaration and up to our newsletter to be informed once more information is available.

Marvin Zick
2nd WSC - Improving Early Detection and Quality of Care Now Available

The fifth session of the 2nd World Sepsis Congress ‘Improving Early Detection and Quality of Care’ is now available to view on YouTube (embedded above) and as a Podcast on Apple Podcasts (iTunes link).
It is chaired by Vida Hamilton from Ireland and features the following speakers:

  • Flavia Machado, Brazil

  • Christopher Seymour, US

  • Luis Garcia-Castrillo Riesgo, Spain

  • Ruth Kleinpell, US

  • Edgar Jimenez, US

  • Charles Sprung, Israel

Sessions are released weekly on Thursdays. The next session is ‘Importance of Pathogen Detection and Sepsis Markers’ on October 25th, 2018. Please head over to the 2nd WSC website for the full release schedule.

The 2nd WSC is brought to you free of charge by the Global Sepsis Alliance, fostering our aspiration to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world. If you enjoyed it, please consider making a donation.

Marvin Zick
Reminder: Submit Your Picture for 2018 WSD Event Poster
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Thank you so much for participating in World Sepsis Day last month - you hosted countless events all over the world to raise awareness for sepsis, the most preventable cause of death worldwide.

Like in the previous years, we will summarize all events on the 2018 WSD Event Poster - please submit your event now to be featured on the poster - submissions will close on October 31st, 2018.

Important: Please point your colleagues and friends to our website to submit their event - www.worldsepsisday.org/wsdposter

Please note that you can only upload one picture per event, so make sure to choose the best/the most representative one.

Since the poster will eventually be printed, we require a certain picture quality. If the form gives you an error message that the picture is too small, please make sure you get the original file off the camera or smartphone, without compressing it. Please don’t submit pictures you have received through WhatsApp, as it compresses pictures beyond recognition.

Please use only the provided form to submit your events - we can’t use pictures that are emailed to us or sent through social media. If you have trouble accessing the form, please try a different browser, a different device, a different network, or get in touch.

We plan to complete the poster by late November/early December, and we will make it available for download, as well as sent out printed copies, which you will be able to ‘order’ free of charge as soon as the poster is completed.

Please point your colleagues and friends to our website to submit their events, especially if you know that they did an event for World Sepsis Day.

Marvin Zick
2nd WSC - Epidemiology of Sepsis Now Available

The fourth session of the 2nd World Sepsis Congress ‘Epidemiology of Sepsis’ is now available to view on YouTube (embedded above) and as a Podcast on Apple Podcasts (iTunes link).
It is chaired by Jeremy Kahn from the US and features the following speakers:

  • Bin Du, China

  • Carolin Fleischmann-Struzek, Germany

  • Rahsan Haniffa, UK

  • Chanu Rhee, US

  • Adam Linder, Sweden

  • Kristina Rudd, US

Sessions are released weekly on Thursdays. The next session is ‘Improving Early Detection and Quality of Care’ on October 18th, 2018. Please head over to the 2nd WSC website for the full release schedule.

The 2nd WSC is brought to you free of charge by the Global Sepsis Alliance, fostering our aspiration to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world. If you enjoyed it, please consider making a donation.

Marvin Zick
World Sepsis Day Infographics Now Available in Spanish
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The new World Sepsis Day Infographics are now available in Spanish.

Please download them and feel free to use them as you see fit, on your social media channels, printed at your events, and everywhere in between.

Like the English version, there is a total of 21 infographics, nine on sepsis itself, ranging from symptoms, sources, prevention, risk groups, to physiology, post-sepsis symptoms, and more. Additionally, there are two on hand-washing, and ten more pointing out the relationship to other World Health Days, such as World Malaria Day, World AIDS Day, World Immunization Week, and more.

The infographics are available as images (.png), as well as optimized for print (.pdf).

Please support us to make sure the Spanish infographics are used widely thanks so much, we really can’t do it without you.

If you like them, please use them and tell your colleagues and friends about sepsis and World Sepsis Day. If you don’t, or have suggestions for improvements, please get in touch.

We will be translating the infographics to more languages later this year.

Marvin Zick
Lucy Ellis: The 16-Year-Old Gymnast Who Wanted to Make a Difference
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Our beautiful twin daughters, Lucy and Sophie, graced our lives on December 29th, 2001 — right on time to spend our first New Year’s Eve together as a family back home.

From a young age, the twins showed an interest in gymnastics. While some would say they were naturals, Sophie often had stage fright during competitions. That's when Lucy would quickly step in and pretend to be her: she even took both the gold and bronze medal in one competition!

Lucy’s gymnastics career advanced quickly. She joined the Welsh Gymnastics Squad and performed internationally in Turin, Italy. She wasn’t a fan of Italian food though and lived on peanuts all week. In 2017, she joined the King Edmund Gym Club in Bristol where she amazed us with her strength and determination. Her hope was to compete in the Olympics one day.

But after a weekend of flu-like symptoms in May 2018, Lucy was referred to the hospital on a Monday morning. She was treated for 12 hours for chest pains and breathing difficulties, but with no diagnosis. Following numerous blood tests and X-rays, she had mottling in her legs. Eventually, a CT scan showed fluid around her heart.

Before we knew it, Lucy was rushed to an operating room and had the fluid drained. For a brief moment, she was stable and without pain. But within an hour, she had to be put into an induced coma while they tried to find the cause of what they believed to be sepsis. We had no idea of how serious sepsis could be until this point.

My 78-year-old father had been treated for sepsis just five months earlier, and due to Australian flu being rife, his doctors managed to identify and treat it. But how was this happening to our fit, athletic daughter?

A consultant walked into the family room and told us the news we’d been dreading: they could not find the cause of the sepsis, there was no sign of improvement. In fact, it was likely that Lucy would die. In utter panic, Sophie threw her drink across the room and fainted, and we all broke down.

After a couple of hours, Lucy arrested, and Cath and I watched as our daughter had to be brought back to life before her condition deteriorated further. She arrested again, and a specialist team was called from the Royal Brompton Hospital with an ECMO to filter her blood. Despite being manufactured just down the road in Swansea, there wasn’t a single hospital in Wales with an ECMO at hand and the wait for the helicopter was two hours. Before the team could make it, our daughter tragically passed away.

Our lives changed forever on May 15th. Our family and friends are still struggling to come to terms with the loss. The grief of losing Lucy is just indescribable. However, we’ll always think back to our time in Turin for her gymnastics competition. She sat me down at some point and said that she wanted to be remembered for something, that she wanted to be written in history books for being someone that made a difference to this world.

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She certainly did make a difference to a lot of people in her short life. Her family and friends meant everything to her, and she was full of love, kindness, and empathy for everyone at home, at school and the gym.

And we’ve established the Lucy Ellis Foundation in her memory: a Welsh registered charity on a mission to save and transform lives. Through the foundation, we’re campaigning for better awareness of sepsis, raising money for specialist equipment and training for hospitals in Wales, and offering athletic scholarships to help underprivileged children and teens pursue their dreams — something we know Lucy would be proud of. Together, we can make a difference.


The article above was written by Neil Ellis, Lucy’s father, and is shared here with his explicit consent. The views in the article do not necessarily represent those of the Global Sepsis Alliance. They are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The whole team here at the GSA and World Sepsis Day wishes to thank Neil and his family for sharing Lucy’s story and for fighting to raise awareness of sepsis.


To help us avoid similar stories in the future, please consider donating to support our cause. Thank you.

Marvin Zick
2nd WSC - The Different Faces and Challenges of Sepsis Now Available

The third session of the 2nd World Sepsis Congress ‘The Different Faces and Challenges of Sepsis’ is now available to view on YouTube (embedded above) and as a Podcast on Apple Podcasts (iTunes link).
It is chaired by Nathan Nielsen from the US and features the following speakers:

  • Hannah Wunsch, Canada

  • Diederik van de Beek, The Netherlands

  • Shevin Jacob, Uganda

  • Robert Fowler, Canada

  • Pravin Amin, India

  • Imrana Malik, US

Sessions are released weekly on Thursdays. The next session is ‘Epidemiology of Sepsis’ on October 11th, 2018. Please head over to the 2nd WSC website for the full release schedule.


The survey to give feedback on the 2nd WSC will close on Sunday, October 7th. If you haven’t made your voice heard yet, please participate in this 3-min survey to tell us what you liked about the 2nd WSC and what could be improved. Thanks!


The 2nd WSC is brought to you free of charge by the Global Sepsis Alliance, fostering our aspiration to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world. If you enjoyed it, please consider making a donation.

Marvin Zick