Sepsis Protocols

Albany, N.Y. 2013. Orlaith and Ciaran Staunton at the signing of Rory’s Regulations into New York State law.

Sepsis is the number one cause of death in hospitals across the United States. However, sepsis protocols in hospitals have been proven to reduce death from sepsis and lower healthcare costs.

In 2013, New York State became the first in the nation to establish a statewide mandate requiring all hospitals to adopt sepsis protocols. Known as Rory’s Regulations, the protocols were designed to improve rapid identification and treatment of sepsis, providing for:

  • The screening and early recognition of patients with sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock;
  • A process to identify and document individuals appropriate for treatment through severe sepsis protocols; and
  • Guidelines for treatment including for early delivery of antibiotics.

The protocols must be submitted to the Department of Health for approval and periodically updated, and hospitals are required to train all relevant staff in the protocols. Hospitals are also required to collect data and quality measures to make internal quality improvements, and to report data to the Department of Health for use in monitoring compliance and updating best practices.

The Rory Staunton Foundation was central to the development and adoption of the new standards, known as Rory’s Regulations. As of May, 2017, Rory’s Regulations have saved more than 5,000 New York lives and resulted in a 20 percent increase in the accurate diagnosis of sepsis patients.

The Regulations also include Parents Bill of Rights, designed to improve quality and oversight of care provided to pediatric patients, including provisions to strengthen the ability of parents to play a meaningful and informed role in a child’s healthcare decisions. The regulations require hospitals to implement procedures to ensure that parents and primary care providers receive vital information about children’s care, particularly by facilitating the communication of critical tests and lab results.

Illinois adopted the mandatory protocols in 2016 and other states have pledged to follow. A central mission of the Rory Staunton Foundation is to see sepsis protocols adopted in in every state by 2020.

UPDATE: New Jersey in now Sepsis Safe. In January 2018 New Jersey Department of Health announced mandatory sepsis protocols for hospitals within the state.Pennsylvania will include mandatory sepsis protocols in their suggested hospital regulations in late 2018.


Download the full text of Rory’s Regulations here

Download the Parents Bill of Rights here