Chances are you have recently heard of the tragic death of 12-year-old Rory Staunton, who went septic after receiving a cut during basketball practice in April. Rory’s story demonstrates the alarming trend of failure to recognize the symptoms of sepsis until it is too late. While Rory’s untimely death is real tragedy, there are several things we can learn from it, and also many ways we can all help to ensure that his death was not entirely in vain.
Sepsis, also known as blood-poisoning, is the body’s response to infection or injury, which is often deadly if left untreated. An estimated 200,000 people die annually in the United States as a result of sepsis, although most sepsis resources argue that the number of deaths is far higher, as many sepsis deaths are blamed on other causes. Here is another example of something that kills more people each year than AIDS, yet few people have ever even heard of it.
We need to first understand the context of Roy’s final days to understand how we can prevent similar circumstances from happening to others. The day after receiving the cut, Rory was taken to his pediatrician’s office with a 104-degree fever, and several symptoms mimicking the flu. There were however some symptoms of sepsis there as well, including Rory’s blotchy skin. Rory was sent to the emergency room by his pediatrician, where he was released just two hours later being diagnosed with the flu.