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NY plans new hospital rules for treating sepsis

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013

Ciaran Staunton, whose 12-year-old son, Rory, died last year from sepsis, four days after he fell while playing basketball and cut his arm, said he had been seen by both his pediatrician and at the hospital emergency room, where he was discharged without a key blood test for infection. Staunton and his wife, Orlaith, said they are advocating for other states and the federal government to follow New York's approach.

"We're saying: 'Look for sepsis. Here are the symptoms,'" Staunton said. For Rory, initially misdiagnosed with a stomach flu, the symptoms included an abnormally high temperature, mottled skin and a sore leg. "We can't bring him back. We can stop the torture of other parents," he said.

NYU Langone Medical Center said later that its emergency doctors and nurses would be "immediately notified" of certain lab results suggesting serious infection, like those that arose for Rory three hours after he had left the emergency room. The hospital also told The New York Times that it had developed a new checklist to ensure medical staff reviewed all critical lab results and vital signs before a patient leaves.

The state's second proposed regulation said no hospital discharge should occur "while critical value tests are pending so as to assure appropriate care is provided." It would require hospitals to implement written policies to review and clearly communicate test results to emergency room patients and to parents or guardians of those who are underage.