On the Road to Sepsis Success in California

CHA Meeting PicIn February, we launched our campaign to introduce sepsis protocols in California. Ciaran, together with representatives from the National Family Council on Sepsis, traveled to Sacramento to meet with officials from the office of Governor Jerry Brown. He shared the devastating effect that sepsis has had sepsis on his own family and discussed the reasons behind the staggering mortality rate from sepsis, which kills more than 258,000 Americans each year. Ciaran also shared the positive impact that mandatory sepsis protocols, known as Rory’s Regulations, are having in New York State where they are projected to save between 5,000 and 8,000 New York lives each year. He encouraged Governor Brown to begin the process of adopting these regulations in California, where at least 32,000 residents die each year from sepsis.

Governor Brown’s aides were astonished by the number of lives lost to sepsis and made a commitment to investigate how various California hospital systems were dealing with the issue. California is home to the Kaiser Permanente health system which remains a gold standard in sepsis care, having reduced the mortality rate from sepsis by 40% throughout its hospitals. However, the story of eight year old Isabella Grace Fow of San Luis Obispo, who lost her life to sepsis at the age of eight, highlights the vastly differing standards of sepsis care in the state.

Ciaran also met with representatives of the California Children’s’ Hospital Association and the California Hospital Association to discuss the role these organization could play in improving California’s response to sepsis. As a result of the meeting, the California Hospital Association launched a public campaign through its website and social media channels to educate Californians about sepsis and its symptoms, using Rory’s Staunton’s story to highlight the importance of understandings its signs. A number of follow-up meetings have been planned and we look forward to partnering with the organizations moving forward.

In San Francisco, Ciaran met with various nurses’ groups and the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center organized several public outreach events to educate people, particularly the elderly, about sepsis and to encourage them to get involved in campaigning for improved sepsis measures in their state. In all, strong support for the increased hospital regulations was voiced and we are hopeful that California will be the next state to start reducing preventable deaths from sepsis through the implementation of common sense protocols.