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National Sepsis Forum Aims to Raise Awareness, Save Lives

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Health experts from around the country are coming together in Washington this week to discuss sepsis, the number one killer in U.S. hospitals, and is being organized by a Queens couple who lost their son to the infection. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

Rory Staunton's memory will live on at Sunnyside Gardens Park after a track was named in his honor. The 12-year-old started feeling sick after scraping his elbow during gym class in 2012. He was taken to the hospital but released, only to return after a few hours. Rory died days later from septic shock.

"No parent should have to bury their child, sepsis is preventable - it's not a disease they don't have the answer for," says Ciaran Staunton, Rory's father.

Rory's parents created the Rory Staunton Foundation in the wake of their son's death. They also fought for changes to how hospitals handle sepsis cases. It's what prompted the State Health Department to instate "Rory's Regulations" last year. They require all hospitals to have a game-plan for detecting and treating the early stages of Sepsis. The regulations are expected to save 5,000 to 8,000 lives each year.

"There are many different phases in terms of sepsis and early sepsis can be can mimic a lot of different other diseases," says Dr. Thomas Moulton, a pediatric hematologist/oncologist.

Symptoms can include fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, dizziness and rash. State health officials say the condition is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. That's why the foundation is hosting the first ever National Sepsis Forum in Washington, DC. A panel of experts will talk about how sepsis protocols can be improved throughout the country.

"We had never heard of sepsis before our son died. The hospital, the doctors, no one at the time checked for sepsis," recalls Staunton.

It's been a difficult two years since Rory died. But his family says they're thankful to have a lasting memory at their son's favorite spot.

"Our son played here, our son was here since he was a toddler. It was his idea of designing this field when he was only six years old," says Staunton.

While it won't bring Rory back, his parents are hopeful their fight for change will help save countless lives in the future.

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