Lexington, Mass-based T2 Biosystems’ CEO John Sperzel has released a book about his personal experience with a bloodstream infection (BSI) and sepsis, titled “Courage: Powerful Lessons in Leadership, Strength, and the Will to Succeed.” 

The book, part memoir, part call to action, details Sperzel’s gripping story from a diagnosis of giant cell myocarditis—a rare and fatal condition diagnosed less than 300 times in medical history—through numerous surgeries and being placed on life support, to a heart transplant, and ultimately a BSI which caused sepsis—a condition that is much more common.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that at least 1.7 million people in the United States develop sepsis, and nearly 270,000 Americans die each year as a result of sepsis. The annual cost of sepsis care for patients in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities is more than $62 billion according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, making sepsis the number one cost of hospitalization. According to a study in The Lancet, nearly 11 million people died from sepsis globally in 2017 alone, representing nearly 20% of all global deaths.

As a result of his BSI and sepsis, Sperzel’s treatment included numerous antibiotics as well as a hospital readmission to ultimately address the hospital-acquired infection. Sperzel spent nearly two months in the hospital intensive care unit, followed by a month in a rehabilitation facility to learn to walk again.

“My hope is that sharing my personal experience will help to raise awareness about sepsis and shed light on why we must change the standard of care for patients at risk of sepsis. Current treatment protocols rely on blood culture, which can take days, and the use of broad spectrum antibiotics, which studies show is only optimal in 30% to 60% of cases,” says Sperzel. “The use of culture-independent rapid diagnostic tests to detect sepsis-causing pathogens is essential, as each hour of delayed targeted treatment can increase mortality by up to 8%.”

T2 Biosystems is the company behind the T2Bacteria Panel and T2Candida Panel, the only FDA-cleared assays for the detection of sepsis-causing bacterial and fungal pathogens directly from whole blood in three to five hours, without the need to wait days for blood culture results. By providing rapid results, T2 Biosystems’ sepsis panels enable clinicians to initiate targeted therapy faster, often before the second dose of antimicrobial is administered, leading to better patient outcomes, improved antimicrobial stewardship, and reductions in length of stay in the hospital.

“I am so grateful to my heart donor, and to those who worked hard to save my life before and after my heart transplant,” says Sperzel. “I believe more people need access to T2 Biosystems’ technology because it can be a game-changer in the treatment of patients at risk of sepsis.”

For more information, visit T2 Biosystems.

Featured image: T2 Biosystems CEO John Sperzel’s book about his personal experience with a bloodstream infection (BSI) and sepsis is called “Courage: Powerful Lessons in Leadership, Strength, and the Will to Succeed.”  (Courtesy: T2 Biosystems)