New sepsis regulations seem to work in New York

Regulations implemented in 2013 in New York state to mandate how physicians treat sepsis appear to be working, according to a study published July 16 in JAMA and reported by NPR.


The so-called "Rory's Regulations" were implemented after a 12-year-old boy, Rory Staunton, died of sepsis in 2012 and his family pushed for stricter treatment directives. The regulations emphasize quick diagnosis, rapid administration of antibiotics and fluid management.

Sepsis deaths are declining nationwide, so the study's researchers compared New York's rate of improvement with that of other states. They found "these regulations had their intended effect of reducing mortality," according to Jeremy Kahn, MD, a critical care physician at the University of Pittsburgh and one of the study's authors.

Some physicians have protested the regulations and are particularly concerned about a rule mandating how much fluid to infuse in sepsis patients and when. The rules may save lives overall, but physicians are concerned that the amount of fluid required could harm at least some sepsis patients, Dr. Kahn said. 

Others question whether the results simply indicate New York is catching up with other states; New York's sepsis statistics were already much worse to begin with compared to the rest of the nation. Still, over a dozen states are considering implementing similar regulations.

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