First-In-The Nation Sepsis Prevention Curriculum Materials Now Available To Teachers

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Rory is making history again – New York Schools will teach back-to-basics education for treating wounds, will educate regarding infection and teach lifesaving lessons about sepsis.

Read the New York State Education Department press release here.

Rory Staunton Foundation and Patient Safety Movement Join Forces for Sepsis Prevention

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August 1, 2017, the Rory Staunton Foundation and the Patient Safety Movement Foundation joined forces in Vermont to discuss the implementation of mandatory sepsis protocols.

Rory Staunton Foundation Co-Founder, Ciaran Staunton, and Regional Chairs/Volunteers Mari Miceli and Georgi D’Alessandro of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation met with Vermont Commissioner of Health, Dr. Mark Levine, and the Vermont State Epidemiologist for Infectious Disease, Dr. Patsy Tassler Kelso, to urge the implementation of Rory’s Regulations in all Vermont hospitals.

In May 2017, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) confirmed that Rory’s Regulations in New York State hospitals are saving lives. We thank the Commissioner and Dr. Patsy Tassler Kelso for their attention to this urgent health issue and look forward to helping Vermont become the next “sepsis safe” state.

USA Today: ‘Rory’s Regs’ On Sepsis Require Hospital Checklists, Save Lives

USA Today, Sepsis, Rory Staunton Foundation, Rorys Regulations

By Jayne O’Donnell
Published by USA Today, May 22, 2017

New York regulations named after a 12-year-old victim of sepsis increased the chance of survival from the potentially deadly condition, a study out Sunday shows.

“Rory’s Regulations,” named for the late Rory Staunton of New York City, requires hospitals to quickly perform a checklist of safety measures when people show up at hospitals with sepsis.  A report in the New England Journal of Medicine Sunday found the faster hospitals completed the checklist of care and administered antibiotics, the lower the risk of death in hospitals from sepsis. With each additional hour it took, the risk of death increased 4%.

Sepsis, which occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs, is the biggest killer of hospital patients. More than 1.5 million cases of sepsis occur in the U.S. annually and more than 20% of people who contract sepsis die from it.

Rory Staunton died five days after falling and getting a cut on his arm in his school gym.

“This is an amazing policy that happened,” says University of Pittsburgh medical school assistant professor and physician Chris Seymour, lead author on the study.

“Minutes matter, and it is critical to perform the correct tests and get the patient antibiotics as fast as possible,” said co-author Mitchell Levy, a physician and professor at Brown University’s medical school.

Ciaran Staunton, Rory’s father, says he seldom uses this word but calls the findings “huge.”

“I have met a lot of the families saved in New York because they had to rule out sepsis,” says Staunton. “I’ve been to the grave sites in other states where there were no protocols.”

Read the original story on USA Today here.

CBS News: Aggressive treatment for sepsis can save lives, research shows

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WASHINGTON — Minutes matter when it comes to treating sepsis, the killer condition that most Americans probably have never heard of, and new research shows it’s time they learn.

Sepsis is the body’s out-of-control reaction to an infection. By the time patients realize they’re in trouble, their organs could be shutting down.

New York became the first state to require that hospitals follow aggressive steps when they suspect sepsis is brewing. Researchers examined patients treated there in the past two years and reported Sunday that faster care really is better.

Every additional hour it takes to give antibiotics and perform other key steps increases the odds of death by 4 percent, according to the study reported at an American Thoracic Society meeting and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

That’s not just news for doctors or for other states considering similar rules. Patients also have to reach the hospital in time.

“Know when to ask for help,” said Dr. Christopher Seymour, a critical care specialist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who led the study. “If they’re not aware of sepsis or know they need help, we can’t save lives.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year began a major campaign to teach people that while sepsis starts with vague symptoms, it’s a medical emergency.

To make sure the doctor doesn’t overlook the possibility, “Ask, ‘Could this be sepsis?'” advised the CDC’s Dr. Lauren Epstein.

Once misleadingly called blood poisoning or a bloodstream infection, sepsis occurs when the body goes into overdrive while fighting an infection, injuring its own tissue. The cascade of inflammation and other damage can lead to shock, amputations, organ failure or death.

It strikes more than 1.5 million people in the United States a year and kills more than 250,000.

Even a minor infection can be the trigger. A recent CDC study found nearly 80 percent of sepsis cases began outside of the hospital, not in patients already hospitalized because they were super-sick or recovering from surgery.

In addition to symptoms of infection, worrisome signs can include shivering, a fever or feeling very cold; clammy or sweaty skin; confusion or disorientation; a rapid heartbeat or pulse; confusion or disorientation; shortness of breath; or simply extreme pain or discomfort.

If you think you have an infection that’s getting worse, seek care immediately, Epstein said.

Doctors have long known that rapidly treating sepsis is important. But there’s been debate over how fast. New York mandated in 2013 that hospitals follow “protocols,” or checklists, of certain steps within three hours, including performing a blood test for infection, checking blood levels of a sepsis marker called lactate, and beginning antibiotics.

Do the steps make a difference? Seymour’s team examined records of nearly 50,000 patients treated at New York hospitals over two years. About 8 in 10 hospitals met the three-hour deadline; some got them done in about an hour. Having those three main steps performed faster was better — a finding that families could use in asking what care a loved one is receiving for suspected sepsis.

Sepsis is most common among people 65 and older, babies, and people with chronic health problems.

But even healthy people can get sepsis, even from minor infections. New York’s rules, known as “Rory’s Regulations,” were enacted after the death of a healthy 12-year-old, Rory Staunton, whose sepsis stemmed from an infected scrape and was initially dismissed by one hospital as a virus.

Illinois last year enacted a similar sepsis mandate. Hospitals in other states, including Ohio and Wisconsin, have formed sepsis care collaborations. Nationally, hospitals are supposed to report to Medicare certain sepsis care steps. In New York, Rory’s parents set up a foundation to push for standard sepsis care in all states.

“Every family or loved one who goes into a hospital, no matter what state, needs to know it’s not the luck of the draw” whether they’ll receive evidence-based care, said Rory’s father, Ciaran Staunton.

Times Telegram: New Care Standards Lower Sepsis Death Rate

Published by Times Telegram, April 10, 2017.

New York has reduced the number of residents dying of sepsis since new regulations kicked in in 2014, state data shows.

Rory’s Regulations, named after Rory Staunton, 12, of Queens, who died of sepsis after a 2012 fall in the school gym, require hospitals to develop and implement protocols to diagnose and treat sepsis early, the first such requirement in the nation.

The protocols are needed, said Dr. Maria Gesualdo, president of Slocum-Dickson Medical Group and a pulmonary critical care specialist who’s heading up the sepsis initiative at the Mohawk Valley Health System.

“When somebody comes through the (emergency department), there’s a stroke alert,” she said. “We have protocols for myocardial infarction (heart attacks) … but we never had anything for sepsis.”

Sepsis, a dangerous reaction to infection, can progress rapidly, leading to the shutdown of the body’s organs and systems, making early intervention critical. It strikes 750,000 Americans each year, killing 200,000. It is the No. 1 cause of death in the hospital and the 11th leading cause of death overall.

In New York, mortality rates for sepsis among adults fell from 30.2 percent to 25.4 percent from mid-2014 through the end of September in 2016, according to the New York State Department of Health study. And the number of patients diagnosed with sepsis rose 20 percent, meaning hospitals got better at identifying patients, according to the study.

Much of the effort centers around screening all patients with infections to see if they may have or be at risk for sepsis, and the use of two protocol “bundles” for patients with sepsis. A bundle is a group of tests and treatments that all patients matching certain criteria should receive.

The three-hour bundle — care to be delivered within three hours — is to resuscitate patients who are severely septic or in septic shock, Gesualdo said. A six-hour bundle is for patients admitted with sepsis.

It’s not that doctors didn’t already know what to do, but they tended to “piecemeal” their treatments.

“Having it all in one order set, we capture everything,” she said. “We don’t miss any of the important elements.”

At Bassett Medical Center, Rory’s Regulations spurred specific initiatives such as a sepsis work group, an alert system for possible symptoms built into the electronic medical record, a rapid response team for a “coordinated and choreographed response,” and provider and nurse education, including the production of a new training video, said Chief of Medicine Dr. Charles Hyman.

“As a result of the above initiatives, Bassett Medical Center has made considerable progress over the past couple years,” he said. “Our 2016 compliance rate is above that of the (New York state) mean for sepsis protocol.”

That means more patients are receiving the prescribed care — such as a systemic antibiotic within one hour of diagnosis — quickly and fully. And the hospital’s sepsis mortality rate is falling below the state average, Hyman said.

The sepsis initiative has been important to spread awareness of a deadly issue and things are definitely improving, Gesualdo said. But perfect compliance doesn’t happen overnight. “It’s really a big initiative. We still have to iron out some wrinkles,” she said.

“It’s everybody’s responsibility,” she added. “We all have to work as a team. We need that nudging till it becomes knee-jerk response.”

Follow @OD_Roth on Twitter or call her at 315-792-5166.

Read original article here.

Ciaran Staunton Addresses the 5th Annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit

California, Ciaran Staunton, Dr. Konrad Reinhart, National Family Council on Sepsis, Patient Safety Movement, Patrick Conway MD MSC CMS, President Bill Clinton, Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention, Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, sepsis, sepsis advocacy, Vice President Joe Biden, 5th Annual World Patient Safety Summit

Ciaran Staunton represented the voice of a sepsis parent advocate speaking on behalf of the Rory Staunton Foundation at the 5th Annual World Patient Safety, Science and Technology Summit in Dana Point, California on February 3rd-4th. Pictured with him here is Jeremy Hunt, MP, Secretary of State for Health in the United Kingdom and Dr. Konrad Reinhart, an international champion of sepsis and chairman of Global Sepsis Alliance.

This important annual Summit brought together international leaders from hospitals, medical and informational technology companies, patient advocacy community, public policy makers and government officials to discuss solutions to the leading challenges that cause preventable patient deaths.

Keynote addresses at the summit included leading figures in the world of politics and health; President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States and Vice President Joe Biden, 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Kiani Founder, Patient Safety Movement, Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt, MP Secretary of State for Health in the United Kingdom, and Patrick Conway, MD, MSC CMS.

We congratulate The Patient Safety Movement for their tireless efforts to improve patient safety and change the world of preventable deaths.

The Rory Staunton Foundation is the leading sepsis advocacy group in the United States and the National Family Council on Sepsis is the only family driven sepsis advocacy group in country comprising families who have lost loved ones to the preventable death of sepsis. The Rory Staunton Foundation and the National Family Council on Sepsis demand mandatory sepsis protocols in all hospitals throughout the United States.

Rory Staunton Foundation and Leading Global Sepsis Organizations Convene in Cork

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Last Wednesday, October 20th, Ciaran Staunton spoke at the Mercy Hospital International Sepsis Conference in Cork, Ireland. The conference brought together speakers from all over the world to discuss initiatives to reduce mortality from sepsis.

In the last month Ciaran has traveled to South Dakota, Indiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania among other places to spread the word on sepsis.

The Rory Staunton Foundation has taken part in discussions on several T.V. and radio shows, we have distributed thousand of brochures detailing the signs of sepsis, we have attended parent information days at public schools, lobbied government and state agencies daily and we are continuing our hard work on creating a new educational program for teens.

This is why we need an the maximum $35,000 prize from L’Oreal Women of Worth-our work is far from done, we respond daily to people who have buried loved ones from sepsis and did not know the signs and whose doctors did not check for sepsis.

Please vote for the Rory Staunton Foundation today and share with your friends:

Pennsylvania Steps Up on Sepsis as it Moves Towards Mandatory Protocols

Pennsylvania, National Family Council, Rory Staunton Foundation on Sepsis Prevention

On Wednesday the Rory Staunton Foundation and the National Family Council on Sepsis joined the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health, Karen Murphy, State Representatives and sepsis survivors at a press conference announcing major new sepsis initiatives in Pennsylvania. We have have been working constructively with Secretary Murphy’s staff to see mandatory sepsis protocols adopted in Pennsylvania’s more than 220 hospitals and we are delighted with the state’s energetic response.

At the press conference, Pinnacle Health launched its Knock Out Sepsis Campaign, which will build on the health system’s remarkable success in reducing sepsis mortality rates by 40%.

As part of the sepsis campaign in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf also issued a Proclamation designating September as Sepsis Awareness Month and encouraged all Pennsylvanians to pursue preventive health practices and early detection efforts in order to be vigilant regarding this public health epidemic.

Following the conference, Ciaran Staunton from the Rory Staunton Foundation and National Family Council member Chris Aiello, a Pennsylvania resident whose daughter Emily died from sepsis at the age of 15, met with staff from Governor Wolfe’s office and other legislators to discuss the significant progress the state is making towards mandatory sepsis protocols. We look forward to Pennsylvania becoming a #SepsisSafe state!

CDC Heeds Calls for a National Response to Sepsis, Launches Report & Awareness Initiative

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When Rory died, the dreadful realization that I would never see his beautiful smiling face and sit and quietly watch him make his way through life very slowly seeped through every bone in my body. The reality that he is dead still drowns our family.

During Rory’s time in hospital we had begged God, besieged everyone who would listen to help us save him. Ciaran and I were told after his death that what he died from was extremely rare – we thought naively at the time… that means no-one could have spotted it, no doctor could have helped us.

But we painfully discovered very soon after his death, that the facts didn’t back up the statement that he had died from something rare. We now know that Rory died from sepsis, that sepsis kills over 258,000 American every year and that most people who become septic arrive at the hospital already very sick. The awful truth for us is that the medical professionals we entrusted with Rory’s care didn’t do what they should have been doing. They should have been looking for sepsis, they didn’t and Rory is dead. If they had diagnosed sepsis and treated him with broad spectrum antibiotics and IV fluids he would be alive.

We have been on a long journey for justice for Rory ever since and along the way we have changed the system in the United States. It has not been an easy journey, in fact at times it was torturous, phone call after phone call, meeting after meeting, but today the good news is that the CDC have launched a major new campaign and channeled millions of dollars to educate healthcare professionals and the general public about sepsis. They have released a Vital Signs report that clearly states that most sepsis cases are acquired in the community and that infection prevention is the single most important this we can do to end unnecessary deaths from sepsis. The education tools, resources and seminars the CDC have put together are nothing short of a major breakthrough in how sepsis is viewed and addressed in this country.

We are proud of our role in bringing this to pass. We are relieved that health care workers and parents will learn more about sepsis from the CDC. Every life is precious. Although we are heartsick that this did not come about soon enough for our boy, we hope and believe that it will save other lives and we are heartened by the fact that it is still possible for a small group of people to affect change on a national scale.

CDC Sepsis Campaign Resources & Reports

Sepsis webpage:

Sepsis Fact Sheet:

Vital Signs Report:

Public Health Officials Struggle To Identify Sepsis Before It Becomes Deadly


By Michelle Andrews
Published by Kaiser Health News, August 23, 2016.

After Rory Staunton fell at the gym and cut his arm in March of 2012, the 12-year-old became feverish and vomited during the night, complaining of a sharp pain in his leg. When his parents called his pediatrician the next day, she wasn’t worried. She said there was a stomach virus going around New York City, and his leg pain was likely due to his fall.

However, she advised his parents, Orlaith and Ciaran Staunton, to take the youngster to the emergency department because he might be dehydrated. There hospital workers did some blood work, gave him fluids and sent him home.

The next day Rory’s pain and fever were worse. His skin was mottled and the tip of his nose turned blue. The Stauntons raced back to the hospital, where he was admitted to intensive care. The diagnosis: septic shock. Rory was fighting a system-wide infection that was turning his skin black and shutting down his organs. On Sunday, four days after he dove for the ball in gym class, Rory died.

“It was frightening to think that something could kill my son so fast and it would be something that I had never heard of,” said Orlaith Staunton.

She’s not alone. Sepsis kills more than 250,000 people every year. People at highest risk are those with weakened immune systems, the very young and elderly, patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer or kidney disease and those with illnesses such as pneumonia or who use catheters that can cause infections. But it can strike anyone, even a healthy child like Rory.

Sepsis is a body’s overwhelming response to infection. It typically occurs when germs from an infection get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. To fight the infection, the body mounts an immune response that may trigger inflammation that damages tissues and interferes with blood flow. That can lead to a drop in blood pressure, potentially causing organ failure and death.

Yet many people don’t know about sepsis. Meanwhile, health care providers struggle to identify it early. There’s no simple diagnostic test and many symptoms — elevated heart and respiratory rates, fever or chills, pain — are common ones that are present in many conditions.

Now, a growing number of doctors, hospitals, patient advocates and state and federal policymakers are pushing to educate consumers and clinicians and ensure procedures are followed that focus on prevention and early detection.

The Stauntons established a foundation to raise awareness about the deadly infection, and in 2013 New York became the first state to require all hospitals to put in place procedures for its early recognition and treatment. This month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law requiring similar actions by hospitals in that state.

The federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to release a study Tuesday about sepsis as part of an effort to draw attention to the importance of prevention and early detection of the disease.

“Early treatment is vital,” said Dr. Anthony Fiore, chief of the epidemiology research and innovations branch at the CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “It’s an emergency that you need to deal with, like heart attack and stroke.”

When sepsis advances to septic shock, characterized by severely low blood pressure, each hour of delay in administering antibiotics decreases the odds of survival by an average 7.6 percent, one study found.

In 2013, sepsis, or septicemia as it’s sometimes called, accounted for nearly $24 billion in hospital costs, the most expensive condition treated. Up to half of people who get it die. Many cases are related to health care, such as catheter use or an infection acquired in the hospital, but large numbers come from outside the hospital, too.

As the front line in identifying these cases, emergency departments typically have sepsis protocols in place to screen for the disease.

“The work you do in those first three to six hours in the emergency department makes more difference in cost than the whole next several weeks in the ICU,” said Dr. Todd L. Slesinger, emergency medicine residency program director at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center in Aventura, Fla., who co-chairs a task force on sepsis at the American College of Emergency Physicians, which has developed a tool to help emergency department staff screen and treat the condition.

Last fall, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services started requiring hospitals to measure and report on efforts to screen for and treat the illness. In addition, Medicare sets penalties for a variety of hospital-acquired conditions, including high rates of post-operative sepsis.

Patient advocates and policymakers agree that patients themselves are key to improving its prevention and early detection. Good hygiene can help prevent sepsis, including cleaning wounds. If someone gets injured, look for signs of sepsis, including rapid breathing or heart rate, confusion, fever or chills and pale or discolored skin.

Don’t assume health care providers have it covered, experts advise. If you or someone you’re caring for has these symptoms, ask the health care provider directly: “Do you think it might be sepsis?”

Read the original article here on Kaiser Health News.