Meet The 2020 Class of Sepsis Heroes

July 19, 2020

2020 Sepsis Heroes

Sepsis Alliance will honor the 2020 class of Sepsis Heroes during the virtual 9th Annual Sepsis Heroes gala on September 17, 2020. The gala will feature an exclusive performance by Las Vegas headliner and America’s Got Talent finalist Daniel Emmet. 

Sepsis Alliance is excited to announce the recipients of the 2020 Sepsis Heroes awards. From a grandfather, sepsis survivor, and advocate in North Carolina to a community hospital reducing sepsis mortality in Los Angeles, CA, this year’s Sepsis Heroes are making great strides in raising sepsis awareness and helping save lives in their communities and across the nation. 

The 2020 Sepsis Heroes are:  

  • Emanuel Rivers, MD, MPHvice chairman and director of research in emergency medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, published a landmark paper in 2001 that revolutionized sepsis care and has saved countless lives by suggesting that the timely identification and treatment of sepsis are critical to the survival of patients. 
  • Rusty Wagstaffgrandfather in North Carolina, lost both his legs below the knee and his right arm to sepsis in 2013. Determined to raise sepsis awareness, he is a leading advocate, participating in sepsis awareness events and sharing his sepsis story widely through local and national press. 
  • Kathy Madlem, BSN, RNthe Sepsis Quality Improvement Coordinator at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose, CA, led her hospital to a 50% drop in their sepsis mortality rate over 5 years by engaging in sepsis education opportunities and spearheading the development of the sepsis improvement program. She also organizes an annual sepsis conference in San Jose. 
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, a safety-net hospital in South Los Angeles, CA, reduced sepsis mortality in their facility by establishing a multidisciplinary team to develop and institute a sepsis protocol that delivers timely evidence-based care to patients. 
  • Ohio Hospital Associationwhich represents health systems and hospitals throughout Ohiois taking the lead in reducing sepsis mortality in the state by raising sepsis awareness, providing sepsis education, and improving sepsis management. 

The 2020 class of Sepsis Heroes will be celebrated during the 9th annual Sepsis Heroes gala on September 17, 2020. The gala will also feature an exclusive performance by multilingual powerhouse singer, songwriter, and Las Vegas headliner Daniel Emmet. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gala will be held virtually this year. This virtual format will open the gala to a wider national audience that ordinarily might not be able to travel to attend the gala in person.  

To learn more about the 2020 Sepsis Heroes, register for the 9th Annual Sepsis Heroes gala, or to become a sponsor, please visit

Sepsis Alliance would like to thank its 2020 Sepsis Heroes sponsors, which include: Baxter, Inflammatix, Beckman Coulter, ThermoFisher Scientific, Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation, GenMark Diagnostics, Postmates, Immunexpress, HealthCatalyst, Northwell Health, and bioMérieux, Inc.