Sepsis Blog
CDC Vows Action on Sepsis After Meeting Stauntons

Dr. Thomas Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote of The Rory Staunton Foundation on February 21, 2014:

“We applaud you for your leadership in and advocacy for sepsis prevention. Your strength and determination in turning the tragic loss of Rory into something that will help many others is inspiring.”

His letter came just weeks after a meeting with Ciaran and Orlaith Staunton and Dr. Martin Doerfler from North Shore –Long Island Jewish Health System. They met with Frieden and several members of his senior staff.

Following Rory’s death The Rory Staunton Foundation was disappointed to discover that, despite the death of over 250,000 Americans a year to sepsis and despite the fact that sepsis kills more Americans than AIDS and more Americans than breast cancer, lung cancer and stroke combined, the CDC had yet to take a leadership role in education and awareness of this killer that over 60 percent of the American population has never heard of.

Following up on our meeting and subsequent phone discussions, the CDC has announced that they will implement some strategies to increase sepsis awareness and improve treatment among the public, health care providers, and health care facilities.

In the written letter to the Stauntons, the CDC said that they will educate health care providers on early diagnosis of sepsis, and identify strategies to address areas for investigation that could improve diagnosis, tracking and prevention of sepsis.

The CDC also said that it will increase communications about diagnosis and prevention of sepsis by:
• Creating a series of sepsis fact sheets for their website
• Add sepsis to the A-Z index on their website
• Incorporate sepsis into patient education materials and content for CDC’s patient safety campaigns
• Use CDC’s network of professional and public-private partnerships to educate clinicians on sepsis.
• Look for opportunities to promote the sepsis checklist used in New York’s Rory’s Regulations to increase early detection and treatment of sepsis.

In particular, in response to our concerns that their message of antibiotic use was endangering sepsis patients, the CDC has agreed to work to clarify their message on antibiotic stewardship which they see as a possible barrier to early treatment of sepsis.

Sepsis patients must receive antibiotics immediately as outlined in the New England Journal of Medicine wherein there is a decrease of 7.6 percentage pints in the survival rate for each hour of delay in administering antibiotics.

The CDC has further indicated that they will continue to investigate sepsis measurement and investigate sepsis problems including knowledge gaps and ways of disseminating cutting-edge information to the clinical community.