Tragic death of Rory Staunton to save thousands of lives with new sepsis law
New York Governor Cuomo supports Rory's Law
The tragic case of Rory Staunton, the 12-year-old Sunnyside, Queens boy who died of septic shock last April after being sent home from the emergency room at NYU Langone Medical Center, has resulted in the introduction by Governor Andrew Cuomo this week of powerful new emergency room measures that could save thousands of lives.
During his State of the State message this week, Cuomo is expected to announce that every hospital in New York must adopt new measures to identify sepsis in patients, including the introduction of a new countdown clock to begin treatment within an hour of spotting it, a state official told The New York Times. Cuomo’s action stems directly from the case of Rory, whose parents, Ciaran and Orlaith, are originally from Ireland.
Sepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe response to bacteria or other germs, overwhelming the immune system. Something as simple as a cut can cause it, which is what happened in Rory’s case.
It’s estimated that Cuomo’s new guidelines on sepsis awareness and detection could save between 5,000 to 8,000 lives in New York State each year and reduce the long-term costs of the condition.
Cuomo’s office is also expected to announce that state regulators are developing procedures for parents to “play a meaningful and informed role” in decisions made about care for their children, according to the governors press office.
Rory’s parents Ciaran, originally from Co. Mayo, and Orlaith, originally from Co. Tipperary, are well known members of New York’s Irish business and political circles, and have responded with enthusiasm to the announcement, a comprehensive response to the dangers of sepsis that they are calling Rory’s Law.
“It’s great news,” Ciaran Staunton told the Irish Voice. “The governor is leading on the issue. Since we found out that our son Rory had died of sepsis, a condition that we had never heard of before, we reached out to everyone we could in political life and we found the governor’s office very receptive to meeting us.”
Responding to the Staunton’s request to publicly highlight the dangers of sepsis, Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, organized a conference on the issue last November, inviting national authorities to contribute to the panel.
“People are seeing that one of the largest killers in the United States is a word that no one even knows,” said Staunton. “Some describe it as the third largest killer in the nation.”
At the time of Rory’s discharge from NYU his parents were not informed that the results of his blood tests had not yet come back yet. Had the results been received in time they would have indicated that Rory was becoming critically ill, but the Stauntons only learned about the test results when they received a laboratory bill after Rory’s death.
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