Sepsis Stories
Emily Jean Aiello: Died from Sepsis, Age 14

Our daughter, Emily Jean Aiello, died from sepsis on May 18, 2015. She was 14 years old. Her infectious smile melted the hearts of those around her. She radiated light and energy and she experienced so much of this world in her short time on this Earth. Emily was born with cerebral palsy and spent her life in a wheelchair but her incredible strength and perseverance enabled her to overcome incredible odds, despite her physical challenges. She was an amazing, funny, vibrant young lady with an incredible vocabulary. She loved the Food Network, music, the color purple, and she loved to laugh. It was a privilege to be her parents.

On May 5th, Emily had surgery for spinal stenosis to help straighten out her back. Ten days later, she developed a fever and started feeling unwell. The doctor ordered a blood test to see if there was an infection. Emily’s fever spiked but it ended up taking 14 hours before blood was drawn successfully. Waiting those 14 hours was terrible mistake. It took another 8 hours after blood was drawn before they realized she had an infection. At one point Emily’s mother asked the doctors if it could be sepsis but they dismissed the question. Almost 24 hours after her temperature initially spiked, she received the antibiotics she needed. But by then it was too late. After about four hours Emily coded and we watched 20 medical personnel perform CPR on Emily for two consecutive hours. They were able to keep Emily breathing with a machine but she was already brain dead. They called her time of death at 7:08 PM.

A very beautiful person was lost who could have been saved. Though we can’t bring her back, we are doing what we can to ensure no other family experiences our pain. The medical community must have procedures in place to make sure this never happens again.

By Chris Aiello, Emily’s Dad.