The Heartbreaking Story of Maddy Jones - Born 1998, Taken by Sepsis in 2017

As an 18-year-old Honours Law student, Maddy was intelligent, beautiful, very independent, wickedly funny with sarcastic undertones (sometimes irreverent) and a great lover of all of God’s creatures, in particular dogs. Maddy was larger than life, a high achiever that typically got what she wanted, through sheer dedication, and perseverance.

Maddy attended the Queensland Tennis School of Excellence at Kelvin Grove State College, during her high school years. She loved the social side of Tennis and was much loved by her Tennis Fraternity. She fought hard in every game to make sure she won as she was very competitive.

After leaving school and whilst attending University, she returned to her love of tennis by coaching young children in the sport at Southern Cross Tennis. This was an extraordinary effort on her part, as she was studying a double degree and working as many hours as she could at Grill’d, to earn her own income.

Maddy amused herself and others with her love of money but in particular what she could buy with money. As a younger teenager we asked Maddy what she wanted to be when she got older, and she replied with great confidence, “I want to be rich”. This was reflected in how determined she was to achieve her best in everything she did.  When her nephew came along and started talking, he couldn’t get his tongue around ‘Aunty Maddy’, it came out sounding like ‘Money Money’. From that point on Maddy became affectionately known as ‘Money Money’, and she loved it.

Maddy worked hard, was loved and respected by all those that she worked with, and she enjoyed spending her money on the finer things in life. Maddy was meticulous at looking after herself. She paid attention to her fitness, attended the Gym, spared no expense with her makeup and hair, and it showed. She was a very pretty young lady.

That’s why we are still coming to terms with how, just two weeks shy of her 19th Birthday, Maddy became ill with Influenza, developed pneumonia, and just over one week later, died from Sepsis, in Intensive Care.

On a Thursday afternoon, after spending a few days on the Sunshine Coast with her boyfriend and his family, she came home feeling quite ill and told us that she felt like she was getting the flu. Her Step Mum promptly gave her some Ibuprofen and water and told her to rest.

Maddy’s Dad (that’s me) took her to a GP the following morning (Friday). She was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and told to keep her fluids up, take over the counter cold and flu medication and rest. The next day, Saturday evening, Maddy was feeling worse, she was complaining that she was short of breath, so her Mother took her to the hospital where she was told she was dehydrated, given fluids, and sent home to rest.  

She rested Sunday and Monday, we kept up the fluids, soup, and medications and she seemed to be ok. However, by Monday night she complained of feeling very sick. We repeated the advice from the GP and Hospital, told her the flu was going to make her feel terrible and kept up our regime of checking her temperature and administering flu remedies.

We were awake with her all through the night, rubbing her back, trying to make her drink, eat soup, and giving her medications. She only had the flu, right?

Early Tuesday morning Maddy asked me to call her an ambulance. I had an early morning appointment, so I called her Mum who picked her up within 15 minutes and drove her to the hospital.  

Maddy was initially diagnosed with severe pneumonia which we were totally shocked at, as she had only been at the hospital two days earlier. By lunch time the same day (Tuesday) she was in an induced coma and we were told she had a 50% chance of survival. Her organs had begun shutting down and she was placed on life support. Things became surreal, and so began our agonising wait to know whether she would pull through or not.  We experienced small glimmers of hope, then devastating news. Watching Maddy hooked up to machines on life support was a harrowing experience to say the least.

Maddy’s organs were shutting down and there was no blood reaching her extremities. We were told that if Maddy survived she would become a multiple amputee, losing her hands and feet. How could this be happening to our pretty, fit, outgoing tennis player?

Over the next 10 days we watched our daughter’s body struggle to fight the bacteria. Then, one night at close to 10: 00 pm, her lungs collapsed, the doctors and medical team fought to restore them however Maddy’s body had endured enough. We were there with her as her heart stopped, after such a brave fight, and she left us to be with God. On October 12th, 2017, our lives were changed forever.

We that are left behind, her parents, siblings, boyfriend, wider family, colleagues and friends, are left wondering how, and why, this happened to a fit and healthy, strong and resilient young girl. How do we come to terms with the fact that Maddy is gone?

We are now all slowly learning to live our lives with this unbearable grief and learning about this killer called Sepsis.

Maddy was farewelled at a service where over 800 people overflowed from the church. Yet my guess is that only the medical staff that attended would have heard of, or known anything about, Sepsis.

How could we have not heard about a condition that is responsible for more deaths in Australia than Breast Cancer, Aids, and the road toll combined?

Sepsis, a preventable condition, that if recognised early enough, can be treated successfully. Maddy was not in a high-risk group.  Fit healthy 18-year olds get the flu, rest, and recover.  We are now left with the question ‘What if we had known about Sepsis?’. Would Maddy still be here? We will never know the answer to that, but I’m confident that the answer is Yes.

Through Maddy’s story, her legacy, she will continue to be an achiever by saving the lives of others. Please educate yourself, your family and friends about Sepsis. Share Maddy’s story. Get the Flu Shot and know the signs of Sepsis. It might not just be the flu. Ask the question ‘Could it be Sepsis?’

As a family, Maddy has left us with beautiful memories. With those memories and through her experience, we want to try and help save the lives of others, we want that to be Maddy’s gift to the world.

The article above was written by Damian Jones, Maddy's father, and is shared here with his explicit consent. The views in the article do not necessarily represent those of the Global Sepsis Alliance. They are not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The whole team here at the GSA & World Sepsis Day wishes to thank Damian & his family for sharing Maddy's story and for fighting to raise awareness of sepsis.

To help us avoid similar stories in the future, please consider donating to support our cause. Thank you.

Marvin Zick
Clean Hands Challenge - It's in Your Hands - Prevent Sepsis in Health Care

Every year on May 5th, the World Health Organization and its commited partners all around the world celebrate World Hand Hygenie Day as a call to action for health workers, but also to stimulate the general public for why hand hygenie is so crucially important.

This year, the slogan is "It's in your hands - prevent sepsis in health care".

To honor this special occasion,  we are excited to launch the Clean Hands Challenge:

This is a challenge to all health institutions of the world; hospitals, medical schools, nursing or any health area, government offices, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and many more. All are invited to participate in order to promote awareness about hand hygiene and sepsis. These are the steps:

  1. Register your institution (name of the institution, city, country, responsible person and email of the responsible person) using the form above.
  2. Establish a stand at the entrance to your facility.
  3. Integrate a team of people (doctor, nurse, resident, fellow...) to train all people who come to your facility on the importance of hand hygiene and explain what sepsis is and how to prevent it (hygiene of hands, vaccination, and proper use of antimicrobials, etc.).
  4. After a person has received the information, ask them to be registered in a list along with their email (explain that the emails will be used to send information about World Sepsis Day and promote awareness about sepsis, but only if the check the field on the right).
  5. Take a lot of pictures and upload them to social networks with the hashtag #HandHygiene, #Sepsis #(YourCountry) @WorldSepsisDay
  6. Send us the record of all the people who were trained during these days, per email to, with the topic "Clean Hands Hygenie).

All participating institutions that demonstrate their activities will receive a certificate and the institutions with the most activity will be named winners of this challenge.

What are you waiting for? It’s in your hands prevent sepsis in health care!

Marvin Zick
Recovery After a Hospitalization for Sepsis - Life After Sepsis

Sepsis affects around 30 million people every year, with 6 to 9 million deaths. That means more than 21 million people survive sepsis every year. Many suffer from the consequences for the rest of their lives. Some of the consequences are obvious, such as missing limbs or organ dysfunction, like kidney failure. Some are less obvious, such as memory loss or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Our friends from the Sepsis Alliance and the Society of Critical Care Medicine have made a short 4-min video on life after sepsis - we highly recommend watching it!

Marvin Zick
A Look Back on 'Sepsis - A Call to EU Action', the Founding of the European Sepsis Alliance, and the Brussels Resolution

On Tuesday, March 20th, 2018, the Global Sepsis Alliance, under the patronage of the EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, hosted the event 'Sepsis - The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe - A Call to EU Action' in Brussels, Belgium. More than 120 people from different backgrounds and nationalities participated and enjoyed the keynote of Commissioner Andriukaitis and the presentations of Edward Kelley, Director Service Delivery and Safety from the WHO, Konrad Reinhart, Chair of the Global Sepsis Alliance, Ron Daniels, Founder and CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust, and Gary Cohen, President of Global Health from BD, as well as the personal story of Dennis Kredler, who is a sepsis survivor. All presentations can be downloaded below.

In the second part of the event, we founded the European Sepsis Alliance (ESA), which aims to unite European GSA Members and develop and implement a Pan-European sepsis strategy. In four working groups (Quality Improvement of Early Diagnosis and Management, Awareness Raising and Lobbying, Patient and Family Advocacy, and Research), we laid the foundation for this important milestone.

Before closing, the participants, representing major European stakeholders in the fight against sepsis, unamimously adopted The Brussels Sepsis Resolution (download below), which urges the European Commission, Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament:

  • To endorse the WHO Resolution on Sepsis and to encourage all European countries accordingly to develop national Action Plans and strategies to improve prevention, recognition, management, and rehabilitation of sepsis;
  • To support a comprehensive Pan-European infection management strategywith sepsis as a key element
  • To promote awareness on sepsis by organizing an European Sepsis Week around World Sepsis Day (September 13th)
  • To encourage and support the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) to engage in sepsis education for citizens and healthcare professionals following the shining example of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US and similar initiatives in the UK and elsewhere,
  • To consider the inherent links between AMR, ICP and sepsis in the new resolution of the EU Parliament to tackle antimicrobial resistance;
  • To expand existing EU research programs on Infection control and AMR to better understand the human, medical, and economic burden of sepsis for Europe and to support the development of innovations to shorten and improve the diagnosis and management of sepsis and reduce the burden of its sequelae for survivors

To become involved in the European Sepsis Alliance, please get in touch.

Marvin Zick
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo Honored with GSA Award

Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, was honored with a GSA Award for implementing life-saving sepsis protocols in all New York State hospitals. These protocols, also known as 'Rory Regulations', named after Rory Staunton, who died of sepsis in 2012 in New York, have saved more than 5,000 lives already, and will save countless in the future. Since their introduction, there has been a 20 percent increase in the identification of sepsis and a decrease in sepsis mortality rates in adults from 30.2 percent to 25.4 percent in New York.

Dr. Carl Flatley, founder of the Sepsis Alliance and the Erin Kay Flatley Memorial Foundation, presented the Global Sepsis Award to Marcus Friedrich, the Chief Medical Officer to the New York State Department of Health, who accepted the award on behalf of Governor Cuomo.

New York State has been leading the fight against sepsis and, as the data shows, our efforts are working to save lives and increase early detection and treatment of this deadly condition,” said New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. “Thanks especially goes to Ciaran and Orlaith Staunton for their advocacy and continuing to fight in Rory’s memory to prevent further tragedies. It is our hope the rest of the nation recognizes the success that can be achieved by using Rory’s Regulations as a model for combatting and ultimately ending sepsis infections once and for all.
— Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Commissioner of Health
The sepsis protocols implemented by Governor Cuomo are already saving lives and will save many more,“ said Dr. Carl Flatley, who is also Chairman of the GSA Awards Jury. “If these types of protocols had been in place in Florida when my daughter Erin became ill with sepsis, they may have saved her life.
— Dr. Carl Flatley, Chair GSA Awards Jury

Prior awardees in the category of Governments and Healthcare Authorities were UK Secretary of Health J. Hunt, the Turkish Minister of Health M. Müezzinoglu, and Federal Minister of State to Chancellor A. Merkel Helge Braun. The Global Sepsis Award winners were chosen by the GSA Award Jury, which is a panel of internationally recognized experts in patient safety and sepsis management.

The GSA Award Jury was absolutely impressed, not only by Governor Cuomo’s introduction of these protocols in all New York State hospitals, but also with his decision to carefully monitor the results of their implementation,” said Dr. Konrad Reinhart, Chair of Global Sepsis Alliance. “We hope other states and countries will follow in Governor Cuomo’s footsteps and implement similar programs that will save lives from sepsis.
— Dr. Konrad Reinhart, Chair Global Sepsis Alliance
Marvin Zick
Presentations from the WSD Supporter Meeting at ISICEM 2018

On March 21st, 2018, World Sepsis Day Supporters from all over the world came together at ISICEM 2018 in Brussels for the first World Sepsis Day Supporter Meeting this year. We had a jam-packed agenda - Konrad Reinhart, Chair of the Global Sepsis Alliance, Hiroki Saito from the World Health Organization, Simon Finfer, GSA Executive Board, Vida Hamilton, National Clinical Lead for Sepsis in Ireland, Tobias Gothow, General Manager of the German Sepsis Foundation, and Marvin Zick, General Manager of the GSA, all held presentations, which you can view and download below. In addition, supporters had the opportunity to report on their national activities and strategies, and what they were planning for World Sepsis Day in 2018. We thank everybody who was there and who wanted to be there - your support means the world to us!

Konrad Reinhart, GSA - Strategy of the GSA for 2018 to 2020


Hiroki Saito, WHO - Clean Your Hands - Prevent Sepsis in Healthcare


Simon Finfer, GSA - Approach to National Sepsis Plan in Australia


Vida Hamilton, HSE - Update on the Irish National Sepsis Strategy


Tobias Gothow, GSF - Approach to National Sepsis Plan in Germany


Marvin Zick, GSA - 2nd World Sepsis Congress


Marvin Zick
Workshop: "Integral Resuscitation of the Patient with Sepsis" at ICEM 2018

The Sepsis Mexico Foundation will give the workshop "Integral Resuscitation of the Patient with Sepsis" during the International Conference on Emergency Medicine (ICEM 2018), organized by the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM) and the Mexican Society of Emergency Medicine AC (SMME). The course has a program taught by experts, specialists in emergency medicine, infectology and epidemiology, with topics such as: "Sepsis-3 - Definition and Controversies", "Water Resuscitation", "Volume Response Evaluation", "Rational Use of Antimicrobials", and more.
It will take place on June 5, 2018, in the pre-congress events, entirely in Spanish.

Marvin Zick
Announcing the 2nd World Sepsis Congress: A Free Online Congress on September 5th and 6th, 2018

On September 5th and 6th, the Global Sepsis Alliance, initiator of World Sepsis Day and World Sepsis Congress, will host the 2nd World Sepsis Congress. The 2nd WSC is a free online congress in which over 100 renowned experts from all around the world will give presentations on all aspects of sepsis, fostering our aspiration to bring knowledge about sepsis to all parts of the world. The congress will be held in English and is open to everyone with an internet connection.

Marvin Zick