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My wife Bonnie Atkins' Speech to the Delaware General Assembly
Hello. My name is Bonnie Atkins. I am the mother of Christina Atkins. My daughter was a 9th grade student at Cape HS. I can say with confidence that My daughter was an exceptional young lady. She was responsible, loving, caring, and thoughtful. She loved cats, gymnastics, dance, cheer, her friends, and her family. She was a Straight A student and Captain of her middle school cheer squad. She was the youngest of five children. She was Our Baby Girl! In May 2011, she was 14 years old. She had been treated for a suspected urinary tract infection by her family physician. At the end of her course of antibiotics, she seemed to be feeling better. However, started with fever off and on, lethargy and abdominal cramps. She rested at home but decided she was feeling better and wanted to go back to school! She loved school! On May 26th, she left our home for school. I received a call from the school nurse at 9:08 am, reporting that Christina was not feeling well and suggested we pick her up. We left immediately to pick her up from school. I drove her straight to our local Emergency Department. After an inadequate and inaccurate assessment at triage, the nurse directed her to the ER bathroom to provide a urine sample. Within a couple of minutes...call it a "mother's intuition" I felt uncomfortable and went to check on her. As I approached the back hall of the ER, I could hear the sounds of my daughter gasping for air. I could hear her in apparent respiratory distress! I immediately started to bang on the door and scream for help! My panic screams were met with resistance as I was told firmly by the ER nurse to calm down! After a scurry of activity, I noticed a look of bewilderment and concern on the staffs faces as I knew they could not locate a key to unlock the door! Minutes started to pass as they felt like hours and I realized My daughter was in dire straights! She was in that restroom alone...helpless...on a cold bathroom floor sinking deeply into an unconscious state as her brain was suffering from a lack of oxygen it so desperately needs...Her mother within three feet of her separated by a Solid wooden door and Metal locks that no one could seem to free her from! As I watched staff stick pens, paper clips and pins in an effort to unlock that door...Maintenance was called to unlock that door...All to no avail! It would be more than 10 minutes later that security was finally able to locate a key to free my daughter! I Never again Heard her speak...Never again saw her eyes open with "life" in them...Never saw her smile again! My daughter, Christina Lee Ann Atkins died two days later at A.I. DuPont for Children from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy...She died of a lack of oxygen to her brain! I relive this moment, this day over and over again in my quiet times and in what I call my nightmares! I am here today to ask you as Spouses, Parents and Grandparents Yourselves to Amend this Bill 129 in the name of Our Christina Lee Ann Atkins to provide protection and safety for the public in Making this law that Every medical facility has a plan of emergency access to ANY patient and ANY time in an event of an emergency. I Never Ever want anyone else to spend the very last moments of their life...alone...helpless...scared and laying on a COLD bathroom Floor! Thank You!
June 10, 2014 Governor Jack Markell signed Bill 129 into law...Christina's Law.
Representative Harvey Kenton of MIlford in the House wrote and sponsored the Bill. Senator Brian Pettyjohn of Georgetown sponsored the Bill in the Senate.
After the death of our daughter Christina Lee Ann Atkins and Christina's Law passing in the State of Delaware, I wanted more change and impacts to save more people. In visiting hospitals in the State of California, we noticed that these hospitals and medical offices had keys and other methods of access into their restrooms in place. Later we found out that, although it is a regulation, more pressure was placed on them due to the passing of Christina's Law AND that the Joint Commission nationally was getting far more stringent on this regulation. As such, living and working around homes in California, I found that homes had a "water closet" or separate small room for a toilet. This small room posed a risk in my eyes. These rooms generally are approximately 3 foot by 5 foot and the door opens inward. In this situation, a person falls ill, blocking the locked door, and no one can access them without breaking through the door. I proposed to the State Building Code to be changed for these rooms only to have sliding or hidden doors that come from the adjacent wall. After speaking to many of the country's top builders in a closed conference call, they readily accepted the challenge to change these designs with no added costs to the consumer.
Deaths from sepsis – a leading killer in the nation caused by the body’s overwhelming response to infection – have fallen dramatically at Riverside University Health System Medical Center in thanks to new detection and intervention efforts.
Such deaths have plunged by 75 percent at the county hospital in Moreno Valley over three years – from 30 percent among all sepsis cases to 8 percent, medical center officials said.
Last year, the hospital, which treats about 1,300 sepsis cases a year, had the fourth-lowest death rate from the quick-moving illness among 40 Southern California hospitals, according to the Southern California Patient Safety First Collaborative.
The medical center has reduced deaths by looking for sepsis in patients and aggressively treating the condition as early as possible, said Dr. Korbin Haycock, who oversees the emergency room’s sepsis program.
“There’s something about sepsis that, once you get behind the ball in treating it, it spins out of control and there’s not much you can do after that,” he said.
Sepsis is a complication of infection that occurs when the body has a counter-productive inflammatory response while trying to fight off an infection, Haycock said.
The condition occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to combat infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body that end up damaging tissues and organs, possibly leading to organ failure, septic shock and death.
About 240,000 to 270,000 people die from sepsis each year in the U.S. From 1999 through 2014, nearly 2.5 million people who died had sepsis listed among the causes of death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Sepsis strikes patients of various age and health levels.
However, those most at risk are people over 65 or under 1 year old, or those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sepsis can commonly occur when the body tries to fight pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and infections involving the skin and gut.
About 80 percent of hospital patients with sepsis arrive with the condition. It’s common at many hospitals for 30 to 50 percent of those patients to die from sepsis, according to Riverside University Health System Medical Center spokeswoman Kim Trone.
The problem is that symptoms vary from person to person and can be vague.
PLAN IN PLACE
About four years ago, a team of Riverside University Health System Medical Center doctors, pharmacists and nurses, including RN Tammy Lowe, the sepsis program’s coordinator, began working to identify and use best practices to screen people for sepsis and quickly intervene with medical treatment.
People are screened after arriving at the emergency room and regularly throughout their stays. If sepsis is found, hospital staff activates a rapid response to provide antibiotics to fight the infection, Lowe said.
“It’s very hard to recognize sepsis. Even now there are a lot of hospitals that don’t do well,” she said.
The hospital has reduced its antibiotic response time to 35 minutes – five times better than the standard of 180 minutes, according to Trone.
Other hospitals are now asking medical center staff how they did that.
Lowe, Haycock and Dr. Ramiz Fargo, who oversees the intensive care unit, talked about their methods and outcomes last week at a Southern California Patient Safety First conference put on by Hospital Association of Southern California.
The accomplishment is doubly important to Lowe, a critical care nurse for 22 years whose father, Hemet resident Johnnie Lowe, died of unrecognized sepsis in 2008 after bacteria was introduced into his lung cavity during routine surgery.
He died about a week after surgery at age 75.
“It means a lot to me that patients go home with their families,” she said.
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