In Memory of… Erin “Bug” Flatley, 1978 – 2002
Erin’s Campaign for Kids aims to combat the high incidence and mortality rates of sepsis among children. The campaign creates awards and training programs for nurses and other health professionals to help identify and treat a disease that, by conservative estimates, causes over 18 child deaths per day or 6,800 child deaths in the United States every year, more than pediatric cancers.
The campaign is named to honor Erin Kay Flatley, an aspiring teacher, who died from sepsis that developed following a routine surgery at the age of 23. Erin’s spirit lives on through the creation of Sepsis Alliance.
Erin’s Campaign for Kids is a first-of-its-kind initiative, created to address an unmet need: the devastating impact of sepsis on children. Programs recognize excellence in pediatric nursing and also designate an Erin Kay Flatley Spirit Award at the Sepsis Alliance annual Sepsis Heroes gala. The campaign has also produced the award-winning educational video “Sepsis and Children,” conducted a national survey of parents’ sepsis awareness, distributed thousands of pediatric sepsis information guides, and created a pediatric sepsis symptoms card (see below).
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“It seems like yesterday our healthy and vibrant 23-year-old daughter Erin was with us. The devastation is real and constant, especially with the knowledge now that had I just put her caregivers on notice that we were concerned about sepsis and asked a few understandable questions every day, she would be here. Doing just this worked for me after I got sepsis myself two years ago, or my recovery might not have occurred.
“There are no redos or make-ups. The pain is forever!
“I was told, confidentially, by medical personnel at her death bed, ‘There are lots of Erins.’ As a health professional of 25 years, I had no idea sepsis was such a publicly non-discussed global problem that is centuries old. WHY? There are things you can do.”
— Carl Flatley, DDS , MSD