Pennsylvania Leaders and PinnacleHealth Call on Citizens to Join New Campaign to "Knock Out Sepsis" and Save Lives

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Sepsis is a global health epidemic and one of the leading causes of death in the nation's hospitals and one person is diagnosed with sepsis every 20 seconds in the U.S. PinnacleHealth System launched a “Knock Out Sepsis” campaign this morning from the Harrisburg State Capitol Rotunda steps.

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PinnacleHealth, Pennsylvania Cabinet members, lawmakers, and sepsis heroes and champions launched the #KnockOutSepsis awareness campaign September 28 at the Harrisburg State Capitol Rotunda.

Every 20 seconds, one American is diagnosed with sepsis, one of the leading causes of death in U.S. hospitals. Know the signs, share the signs, save a life.

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PinnacleHealth System launched its “Knock Out Sepsis” campaign this morning from the Harrisburg State Capitol Rotunda steps joined by Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller, State Representatives Mike Regan and Patty Kim, sepsis survivors Russ DiGilio, Aaron Stoner, and Carol Brame, mother of Sean Brame, and medical professionals on the frontlines of combatting sepsis.

Sepsis is a blood infection and an insidious silent killer, claiming 258,000 lives in the U.S. each year, more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined. And health care professionals around the world believe that number to be severely underreported.

“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared sepsis a medical emergency. Caring for patients with sepsis is a race against time," states Michael Young, President and CEO, PinnacleHealth System. “I commend our hard-working team for their unwavering resolve in standardizing early intervention protocols for sepsis to deliver the highest quality care and save lives."

A medical team led by Thomas Stoner, DO, FACOI, sepsis champion and medical director, PinnacleHealth Community General Osteopathic Hospital, and Franklene Williams, nurse practitioner, Intensive Care Unit, PinnacleHealth West Shore Hospital, have worked to implement new sepsis protocols at PinnacleHealth.

"As a result, our Early Goal Directed Therapy protocols in tandem with system-wide educational programs and aggressive treatments have led to more accurate diagnoses, prevention, successful treatments, and a 40 percent reduction in sepsis mortality at PinnacleHealth in the last year. These measures are saving 10 to 12 lives each month," states Stoner.

In addition, Dr. Stoner highlighted the following:

  •     Sepsis is the number 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S.
  •     Sepsis is an infection that most often strikes children and elderly persons, but can affect any age, gender, or race.
  •     Sepsis has a price tag of $24 billion annually and is the most expensive health care condition in the country.
  •     PinnacleHealth is committed to educating every medical provider, nurse, and staff member on our new diagnostic and life-saving members.

Carol Brame, mother of sepsis survivor Sean Brame, shared her family's life-changing sepsis journey today, reminding the public that education is critical in attacking this epidemic. "Five hours meant the difference between Sean keeping his hands; five minutes meant the difference in life or death," said Brame. "Even though my son beat the odds and survived, it came with a heavy price tag. He lost three limbs, but today is an international swimming competitor at Penn State University, an Eagle Scout, and a true sepsis hero. I urge everyone to know the signs, share the signs, and save a life!"

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a Proclamation designating September as Sepsis Awareness Month. He encouraged all Pennsylvanians to pursue preventive health practices and early detection efforts in order to be vigilant regarding this public health epidemic.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, speaking at the press conference, noted that in 2014 more than 110,000 patients in Pennsylvania hospitals had sepsis or septicemia and nearly 12,000 died. The Pennsylvania Department of Health joined with health care leaders to call for a continued reduction in the number of deaths from sepsis.

"This battle is personal to me. My teenager is a sepsis survivor," says Stoner. "We are asking all Pennsylvanians to embrace our mission and recognize the signs of sepsis."

#KnockOutSepsis Call to Action:
1.    To our Community and Government: Tell everyone you know the signs of sepsis. Know the signs; share the signs; save a life.
2.    To Patients: Sepsis is a medical emergency. Trust your instincts. Tell your doctor exactly how you feel. If you've never felt so sick, ask your doctor to rule out sepsis.
3.    To the Media: We need your microphone and your partnership. More than 50 percent of the U.S. population has never heard of sepsis, yet it is one of the leading causes of death in our hospitals; 57 percent of young adults have never heard of sepsis.

"Together, we can knock out sepsis and win this battle," says Stoner. For more information on PinnacleHealth System's #KnockOutSepsis campaign, or to learn more about signs, symptoms, and treatment, please visit

About PinnacleHealth System
PinnacleHealth System has been a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services in central Pennsylvania since 1873. The 636-bed system has three acute care hospitals (Community General Osteopathic, Harrisburg and West Shore Hospitals) on four campuses (Community, Harrisburg, Polyclinic and West Shore) serving a five-county service area and supporting rural hospitals through affiliations and telehealth services. PinnacleHealth pursues innovative treatment options for the region through cardiac and cancer clinical trials, while offering convenient community services including medical home-certified primary care, urgent care, Magnet-recognized nursing excellence, emergency services, imaging, high-volume maternity care and a level III NICU, and workplace-based wellness services. PinnacleHealth includes a CardioVascular Institute and Cancer Institute, as well as a Bone and Joint Institute, Neurosurgery and Neurosciences Institute, and Spine Care Center that combine a multi-disciplinary approach to comprehensive spine, bone, joint, orthopedic and sports medicine services. PinnacleHealth is recognized for high-quality care with national and regional recognitions for volumes, outcomes and safety. For more information, visit

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Anne Deeter Gallaher
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