Trevor O’Hern first came to our attention in 2016, when he submitted a tribute to Faces of Sepsis, a tribute to his niece Josslyn Sophia Jewel Gee, who died of sepsis when she was only 18 months old. She had been ill with a fever, but not acting out of the ordinary. Thinking she was only teething, the decision was made to bring Josslyn to the urgent care center the next day if she didn’t improve. Sadly, Josslyn died overnight, in her crib. Josslyn’s autopsy showed that she went into septic shock, triggered by group B streptococcus.
Since her death, Trevor has researched sepsis, learning what it is and how few people understand what it is. Before this tragedy, Trevor had no idea sepsis existed. His research has led him to a mission to spread sepsis awareness, so no other family has to lose a child to the disease. Trevor and his family worked with legislators in Indiana to successfully pass House Bill 1275, mandating sepsis protocols. The bill requires that all hospitals have a sepsis protocol in place. “This work I’m doing is not on my own behalf,” Trevor said. “I’m doing it on Josslyn’s. She’s my reason for doing it and I personally don’t want the recognition for this law because this is all her.”
Trevor has also been a tireless fundraiser for Sepsis Alliance, so we can continue to produce educational material for both the public and healthcare professionals. His generosity, along with the many others who support our efforts, allow us to remain an important place that provides information and support to those who need it. When told he had been named a Sepsis Hero, Trevor was surprised. “I was really shocked. I wasn’t expecting that phone call. It means a lot,” he said.
Moving forward, Trevor wants more recognition of sepsis nationally. “With the [sepsis] symptoms being known, just like they are for a heart attack or a stroke, so that people will know to take their loved ones to the hospital and say, ‘I’m concerned that they might have sepsis.’”
Sepsis Alliance is proud to present the 2019 Sepsis Heroes award to Trevor.