Staunton Family to Testify on Sepsis at U.S. Senate Hearings

81US_Senate_SealAn urgent call for sepsis awareness and action will be the message from the Staunton family, parents of Rory Staunton the 12 year old New York boy who died from Sepsis on April 01, 2012.

The family have been invited to testify about Sepsis before a full Health Committee Hearing in the United States Senate on September 24th, 2013. This is the first time that the issue of sepsis in the United States has been raised at such a high level.

Orlaith and Ciaran Staunton said in a statement today that they welcomed the invitation to testify and thanked both the Senate Health Committee Chairperson Senator Harkin and the ranking member Senator Alexander for the invitation.

“This is an historic opportunity to speak to the full Senate House Committee about our son Rory’s death and how it has impacted our family.Sepsis kills more Americans than Aids, and is costing the US economy over $16 billion dollars a year. Moreover, there is a real opportunity to save lives through awareness and education throughout our community of parents and health care professionals as sepsis is treatable once it is detected.”

“Our son Rory should not have died and we want to ensure that no other child dies unnecessarily because of this silent killer. As part of this effort we have worked with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo  who has enacted  ‘Rory’s Regulations’ and we have set up the Rory Staunton Foundation to increase awareness of Sepsis.”

The Senate Hearing will take place on Tuesday, September 24th at 10:00am at 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building.


World Sepsis Day 2013

Rory With Uncle Fergus and Sister Kathleen

Rory With Uncle Fergus and Sister Kathleen

Today, September 13th is World Sepsis Day.  This is the day we advocates for Sepsis Awareness will use to spread the word about Sepsis. This morning in Ireland, where we, Rory’s mom and dad come from, Rory’s uncle Fergus O’ Dowd, who is a member of the Government in Ireland, visited his local hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where they are conducting a Sepsis Awareness Day. Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is ahead of the curve when it comes to Sepsis awareness having won several awards for work in the Sepsis area. Drogheda is where I grew up.

Rory looked just like his Uncle Fergus. When Fergus was around there was always fun. Rory and Kathleen adored him.  Fergus and Rory had many political discussions, a week before Rory died Fergus was in New York and he and Rory had a huge discussion on the pros and cons of Fracking. The rest of us let them at it and continued our chat around the table. The mutual adoration and respect was obvious.

Across the street from the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda is a small graveyard.  This is where Rory was laid to rest in the arms of his adoring Nana.

In one of the largest hospitals in New York the medical professionals did not know Sepsis when they examined him in the Emergency Room, they didn’t listen. Rory’s Madison Avenue Pediatrician did not recognize the signs. He died in front of our eyes.

Sepsis awareness is crucial. There can be no more deaths just because people did not know.


Call For Sepsis National Action Plan in Germany Similar To Rory’s Regulations in New York

photo-10At the 1st Sepsis Summit in Berlin on September 9th Professor Konrad Reinhart, Chairman of Global Sepsis Alliance called for a National Action Plan  similar to Rory’s Regulations in New York. Professor Reinhart spoke of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new Sepsis Regulations named for Rory Staunton as being an “excellent example of quality of care” and called on all governments to implement similar measures.

Earlier at the conference Ciaran Staunton, Rory’s dad, spoke of the deadly condition that is now the largest killer of children in the world and said that if Sepsis were an individual he or she would be the most wanted criminal in the world.

Berlin Sepsis Summit


At the 1st Sepsis Summit in Berlin, Rory’s dad Ciaran said that if Sepsis were a criminal he or she would be on a WANTED list by every government in the world.  In Germany alone, Sepsis kills 144 people a day, over 50,000 people a year. Sepsis strikes worldwide, it knows no border and it is an equal opportunity killer.

Sepsis is the largest killer of children in the world.

Ciaran Staunton will give keynote address at the first Berlin Sepsis Summit

76D3C6514_berlin_opt-2Rory Staunton’s father, Ciaran, will give the keynote address about Rory’s Regulations  at the first Berlin Sepsis Summit on Sept. 9, 2013 at the invitation of Prof K. Reinhart, Chairman of the Global Sepsis Alliance.

The Berlin Sepsis Summit will see the launch of a national campaign in Germany to prevent Sepsis deaths which kill some 60,000 people annually and costs the German state about 5 billion Euros every year.

Ciaran will speak about Rory’s Regulations, a new series of Sepsis protocols which were signed into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo this year.

Rory’s Regulations were named in honor of Staunton’s 12-year-old son Rory who died tragically of Sepsis in a New York hospital on April 1, 2012.

Rory’s Regulations mandates New York State hospitals to pro-actively identify and treat sepsis before it turns fatal.  New York has become the first government in the world to mandate sepsis regulations.

Rory’s parents Ciaran and Orlaith  have campaigned  tirelessly since Rory’s death to try and prevent more families from suffering their devastating loss.

They have appeared on the Today Show, the  Dr Oz Show and Rory’s story has been featured in The New York Times, Irish Central, Irish America Magazine, and many other major publications.

Rory’s mother Orlaith has spoken directly with Vice President Joe Biden on the issue and Rory’s father, Ciaran has previously addressed other conferences in the U.S including the Diagnosis Errors in Medicine Conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in November last year.

Sepsis, which can be treated if diagnosed in time, kills more Americans than Aids each year and costs the U.S. economy $16 billion annually.

Rory’s father Ciaran says the Rory Staunton Foundation is determined to raise worldwide awareness about Sepsis. “It is the biggest killer of children worldwide,” he says.

The Rory Staunton Foundation are proud members of the Global Sepsis Alliance and our aim is to spread Sepsis awareness and ensure that fewer lives are lost to this silent killer.

Remembering Seamus Heaney

heaneySeamus Heaney the Irish Nobel Laureate died this week, he was 74 years old.  He will be buried beside his little brother Christopher who died tragically when he was a little boy of four.

Christopher’s death inspired Seamus to write one of his most beautiful poems “Mid-Term Break” which tells the story of his return from boarding school as a young boy for his brothers’ wake.

For those of us who have tragically buried a loved one this poem speaks tenderly to the sense of loss created by a sudden death.  The feeling of being alone, the bewilderment, the emptiness and confusion that haunt those moments are beautifully captured.

Mid-Term Break  by Seamus Heaney

I sat all morning in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying–
He had always taken funerals in his stride–
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.

If I had known about Sepsis, I would have looked for Sepsis…

I remember the afternoon of Friday, March 30, 2012, the Friday before Rory died. That was the day after he had been dismissed from the hospital ER room and dismissed by his pediatrician.

ChalkboardSeeing him still so sick, I told Rory that I needed to check him out for meningitis so I shone a light in his eyes; I got him to move his neck. He was so tired that he just let me do what I needed to do and turned back to sleep.

Then I told him I needed to check every part of his body in case there was a bite, which maybe someone had missed. Rory was 12 years old. Like most boys of 12, he was super body-conscious but he nodded yes and proceeded to let his mom check his body to ensure that some little creature hadn’t bitten him and made him sick. We had a good chuckle as we went along.

There was no mark on his body other than the cut he had received when he fell in school. The truth was Rory was already in septic shock, Rory had Sepsis. His dad and I had no idea.

Not one doctor, not one nurse had mentioned the word Sepsis to us … not one.

A recent poll shows that over 70 percent of Americans haven’t heard of Sepsis. This figure is unacceptable particularly when you consider how many Americans die from Sepsis.

September 13 is World Sepsis Day. Be sure to tell people about Sepsis, have them like our page on Facebook, read our website, and encourage them to become informed.

Knowledge is power. If I had known about Sepsis, I would have looked for Sepsis.

And so it is that life changes…


Rory with his sister Kathleen in the middle, cousin Alana and Irish actor Gabriel Byrne.

On Sunday night, July 21st, we closed O’Neill’s in Manhattan. Life as we knew it has changed, but we have many wonderful memories from our times there.

Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Sully Sullenberger, Bruce Springsteen, Gerry Adams, Enda Kenny. Gabriel Byrne, Fionnuala Flanagan, Daniel Day Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, all came through our doors as well as many other strangers who became friends, and friends who became” family”. Some of our customers even met their future wives and husbands there.

We will not be far away though. We will still see everyone at Molly Blooms in Queens.

We always told our children to stand up for something they believed in. Rory and Kathleen were at the first Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform meeting in Queens. After many questions they wore their immigration reform t-shirts proudly and together we will all continue to look forward to immigration reform.

Most importantly, because of where life has brought us now, we will fight, with the help of others, to raise awareness and save lives from Sepsis, something we knew nothing about until it tragically killed our 12-year old-son Rory.

Rory and Kathleen have had wonderful moments in O’Neill’s. We brought them there within days of their birth to “show” them off.

Every Saturday after swimming at the YMCA they made their way to O’Neill’s with their cousin Alana. There, as years passed, they rose in the ranks to become self-made bartenders, perfecting the art of mixology (with juices and sodas). If we let ourselves listen, we can still hear their laughter.

First Communions, birthday parties, family and neighborhood events were all celebrated at O’Neill’s, it was a second home, full of treasured memories

For Ciaran, the time has come to move on. It is too difficult to remember these good times knowing that that one special face will no longer be there.

Life as we knew it is no more. Although 12 years remained on our lease, we now know 12 years can be a lifetime.


Rory and friends at O’Neill’s

A powerful short video on sepsis from World Sepsis Day.


Sepsis – Here Comes the Next Generation!

Last week we escaped from our new reality. Along with family from Ireland (who helped us laugh again after a really tough couple of weeks), we made a trip to Cape Cod, a place where we had never been before with Rory.J-1Visa

Besides the beautiful scenery and slow pace of life; what we found there were wonderful smart young people from all over the world.  These international students are working and living in the U.S. for the summer months, savoring the American culture and enjoying life as twenty-something year olds.

Sepsis is now part of our everyday thinking. It killed our son. While we were engaging these fun, intelligent  young adults about life, their studies and future, we discovered many of them were contemplating careers in the medical field.

These young people will have it in their power to quickly diagnose and treat sepsis.  They will have it in their power to knock this killer on its ass. They are our future.  Education will be crucial.  We need to ensure that these enthusiastic young adults receive the information they require about sepsis and learn how important early sepsis diagnosis is.

They will need this information regardless of whatever country they choose to work in. Sepsis strikes worldwide, it has no borders; it has no concern for race or social standing.  Sepsis kills.

Strong education of sepsis is more crucial now than ever in colleges and  in all training institutions as sepsis cases are increasing at an alarming rate.

Sepsis needs a fresh young enemy – our young student population can be just that.