As the fourth anniversary of 12 year-old Rory Staunton’s death approaches on April 1, his parents Ciaran and Orlaith scored their most important – and personal – congressional victory to date when both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees chose to focus significant attention on the issue of sepsis in the all-important 2017 Appropriations Bill.
The Stauntons are the co-founders of the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention, an organization they established following the tragic death of Rory from sepsis in 2012. Since then, they have devoted themselves to raising awareness of the condition and to securing federal resources to combat the sepsis crisis, which kills between 250,000 and 500,000 Americans each year and costs the government more than $23 billion annually.
Throughout the 2017 budget process the Rory Staunton Foundation has redoubled its efforts to educate congressional representatives about the devastating impact that sepsis has on American families and on the national budget. They were joined by members of the National Family Council on Sepsis, a network of families impacted by sepsis, who shared their stories of heartbreak with congressional leaders and committee members.
As a result of the Stauntons' hard work and determination, both Committees included strong language to highlight sepsis as a critical issue in need of increased resources and attention.
The House Appropriations Bill requests that the CDC “significantly and materially increase its public awareness, outreach, and education efforts on sepsis, including health provider outreach and other related activities to improve diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.” The Senate Bill notes that, “major improvements in outcomes can be achieved but there has been no effort to educate the public or medical providers as to the signs, symptoms, importance of early diagnosis and treatment.”
“The Rory Staunton Foundation has worked diligently to ensure that sepsis receives its fair share of attention and resources from the federal government. The high profile given to sepsis, which was mentioned 89 times in the CDC’s 2017 Justification of Estimates, is clear proof that the movement to address the sepsis crisis in gaining momentum and that the voices of sepsis victims and their allies are finally being heard,” says Ciaran Staunton. "Tragically, we can never bring Rory back", added his wife Orlaith, “but we will do all possible to prevent other needless deaths from sepsis through lack of awareness.”
The CDC, acknowledging that the issues raised by the Committee were “critical,” responded positively in its 2017 Budget Justification by committing to the introduction of public awareness campaigns aimed at ensuring primary prevention of sepsis and increased early recognition.