Septicemia — defined by the National Library of Medicine as "a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly" — is the costliest inpatient medical condition in the U.S.

That's according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which calculated total inpatient U.S. medical costs for 2011 and ranked the top 20 in terms of cost.

Anyone who's had any experience with septicemia knows how nasty, and costly to treat, the disorder can be.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.