Congressman Joe Crowley introducing new legislation that will increase sepsis awareness, diagnosis and treatment.Jay Premack Photography

Congressman Joe Crowley, Democrat of New York, has committed to introducing new legislation that will increase sepsis awareness, diagnosis and treatment. Crowley made the commitment at a national sepsis forum last week hosted by the Rory Staunton Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Crowley’s bill, the Rory Staunton Coordination, Awareness, Research and Education (Care) for Sepsis Act, is named after Rory Staunton, the 12-year-old Irish American boy from Sunnyside, Queens who died from sepsis in April of 2012, just days after obtaining a cut while playing basketball at school.

Rory’s condition went undetected and undiagnosed by his pediatrician and hospital emergency staff. His parents, Ciaran from Co. Mayo and Orlaith from Co. Louth, created the Rory Staunton Foundation to advocate for greater sepsis awareness and regulations.

“Even one death from sepsis is one death too many, and the time is now for the federal government to take a comprehensive and concerted approach to preventing and treating sepsis nationwide. It is my hope that between this legislation and a congressional caucus focused on elevating the issue of sepsis, we can start to make significant headway in treating and preventing this terrible condition,” Crowley said at the forum, which was co-sponsored by the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

“Rory Staunton’s desire to help make the world a better place, even at such a young age, was inspiring, and with these new congressional efforts, we can help do the same in his honor.”

The forum was addressed by a number of politicians and healthcare professionals from around the U.S., including New York Senator Charles Schumer. Also in attendance was Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

A number of families who lost a loved one to sepsis attended the forum, and afterwards visited the offices of their local Congressional representatives to urge them to join the first ever Congressional Sepsis Caucus, which came about from the efforts of the Rory Staunton Foundation.

Also at the forum, it was announced that September will become National Sepsis Awareness Month, and that more states will follow New York's lead and implement Rory’s Regulations, a set of guidelines that requires hospitals to communicate critical test results in plain language to parents before a child is discharged from the hospital.

The regulations require hospitals to post and provide a "Parents' Bill of Rights” setting forth the rights of patients and parents of minors regarding the critically important protections provided by these regulations when it comes to the care of their children. The regulation also requires all hospitals to adopt best practices for the early identification and treatment of sepsis.