After five days of suffering with influenza, Sean developed severe swelling in his eye that occurred overnight. Heeding her intuition that something was not right, Mrs. Hatzfeld took her son to their nearby hospital, where he was diagnosed with orbital cellulitis – an infection in the cells surrounding the eye. Specialists there advised her that Sean be further evaluated by a pediatric ophthalmologist and he was immediately rushed by ambulance to NYU Winthrop.
Within minutes of his arrival at NYU Winthrop’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Sean broke out into a rash as black dots emerged on the surface of his skin, indicating blood poisoning. It was clear to NYU Winthrop’s pediatric team that Sean was suffering from severe sepsis and was on the brink of multi-organ failure.
Fortunately for the Hatzfeld family, NYU Winthrop is a leader in pediatric sepsis care. Thanks to a quality initiative that began in 2009 by The Children’s Medical Center at NYU Winthrop, designed to advance severe sepsis care for pediatric patients, the pediatric team was ready to tackle this potentially life-threatening infection head on.
“We know that early recognition and prompt therapy save lives, and every hour of delay matters in terms of mortality,” said Lyn Quintos-Alagheband, MD, Associate Director of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine and Physician Quality Officer at The Children’s Medical Center at NYU Winthrop. As Chair of the Pediatric Strike Out Sepsis Campaign at NYU Winthrop, Dr. Quintos-Alagheband has been instrumental in improving
NYU Winthrop’s management of severe sepsis and is actively involved in supporting the implementation of best practices in both adult and pediatric patients.
After days at NYU Winthrop that involved medications to support blood pressure, advanced hemodynamic monitoring capability, mechanical breathing support, sinus surgery by otolaryngologist Bradley Block, MD, to clear out infected tissues in the sinuses, dialysis and physical therapy, Sean finally began to turn a corner. Fourteen days later, he was on his way home.
Grateful for the life-saving care their son received at NYU Winthrop, the Hatzfeld family recently hosted a Golf Outing that raised funds to enable the Hospital’s experts in sepsis to educate Long Island pediatricians and parents on the frequently missed early warning signs of this often fatal illness.
“We believe there was a reason that our son went through this and we want to take this opportunity to help others by spreading awareness so that others can be prepared should they face a similar situation,” said Mrs. Hatzfeld.
Preparation is certainly the foundation of success, and in 16-year-old Jackson Israel’s case, it saved his life. When his parents, Lee and Raquel, became concerned that their son’s flu-like symptoms were growing increasingly serious, they decided to bring him to NYU Winthrop’s Pediatric Emergency Unit. Bacteria from an unrecognized bone infection had spread throughout Jackson’s body, and upon arriving in NYU Winthrop’s Pediatric Emergency Department, he was in septic shock.
Understanding the importance of timely assessment and committed to recognizing and managing pediatric sepsis patients, NYU Winthrop’s Pediatric Emergency Unit uses a team approach so that patients are treated as quickly as possible. The team immediately began early goal-directed therapy – an evidence-based process that involves rapid administration of fluids and medications to reverse shock and timely administration of antibiotics.
“Jackson’s major organ systems had already sustained injury at the time of presentation and he progressed to multiple organ dysfunction,” said Dr. Quintos-Alagheband.
During the next few weeks, Jackson required invasive monitoring, medications to maintain his blood pressure, advanced breathing support and dialysis to support his kidneys. A blood clot spread the infection to his lungs, and he required surgery to control internal bleeding. During his three-month stay in NYU Winthrop’s PICU, Jackson steadily regained his health.
Consultation with various subspecialties was coordinated to assure the best treatment. “This was reassuring for us,” said Mrs. Israel. “We knew every option was being explored.”
Today, as Jackson is enjoying attending school for the first time since he became sick earlier this year, both his family and his NYU Winthrop medical team are grateful.
“It is because of the collaborative efforts and the swift action of many NYU Winthrop professionals that Jackson has overcome a lengthy battle with pediatric sepsis,” said Mrs. Israel, who, along with her husband, Lee, were eager to give back to the Hospital in gratitude for the outstanding care he received.
The Israel family’s generous support has enabled NYU Winthrop to obtain a high-fidelity pediatric mannequin that can simulate life-threatening scenarios to advance the NYU Winthrop medical team’s knowledge and expertise.
“This will strengthen our team’s position as a leader in sepsis education and quality improvement. Further, Raquel Israel is currently an integral part of our Pediatric Sepsis multidisciplinary team and contributes greatly to help us carry our mission,” said Dr. Quintos-Alagheband.
Benefiting from a family-centered approach, George Miller is also grateful that a turn of events led his 14-year-old daughter Elizabeth to NYU Winthrop. Originally diagnosed with mononucleosis, Elizabeth was prescribed steroids by her pediatrician – yet over time her symptoms of fever, pains in her neck and weakness grew increasingly worse.