Making Contributions to Sepsis Research and Prevention

Northwell Health, Feinstein Institute working with advocates to promote early detection

MANHASSET, NY – With September being observed nationally as sepsis awareness month, Northwell Health and its Feinstein Institute for Medical Research continue to play active roles in the early prevention, treatment and research of this condition, which affects more than one million Americans every year – up to 50 percent of whom die. The health organization’s findings on sepsis signs and how the body is affected by the condition are being presented at the first World Sepsis Congress held online Thursday and Friday (September 8-9).

In addition, Northwell Health President and CEO Michael J. Dowling will be speaking about New York State’s contribution to sepsis prevention at The Rory Staunton Foundation’s Third National Forum on Sepsis on September 12 in New York City. And on September 15, one of Northwell Health’s clinicians leading the sepsis charge, Martin Doerfler, MD, is being recognized for his work at the Sepsis Alliance’s Sepsis Heroes Gala in Manhattan.

Recently defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a medical emergency, sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to infection, typically occurring when germs from an infection get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Even with the condition affecting a large percentage of the population, it often goes undiagnosed as it mimics symptoms of other diseases. Early detection is key to preventing loss of life.

To help shorten the diagnosis time, the Northwell Health Sepsis Task Force, headed by Dr. Doerfler, along with the Feinstein Institute, reviewed previous cases to identify the key signs for sepsis. Through this work, they identified a protocol, which includes early administration of fluids and antibiotics, to implement across Northwell Health’s 21 hospitals. As a result, sepsis-related mortalities within Northwell Health’s hospitals have been reduced by almost 70 percent, which equates to thousands of lives saved.

“Sepsis detection and prevention is a priority here at Northwell and the Feinstein Institute,” said Dr. Doerfler. “While we in the health community have worked to identify the initial signs of sepsis, there is still work to be done to further aid in the treatment of the condition. Continuing research at the Feinstein Institute is looking to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with sepsis. We are happy to participate in these events to help bring awareness of the condition to both professionals and the general population.”

The Feinstein Institute has partnered with the Rory Staunton Foundation for Sepsis Prevention to create several public service announcements (PSAs) in an effort to increase awareness about sepsis and its signs. The signs of sepsis include fever, elevated breathing, decreased blood pressure, mental confusion and mottled skin. One of the PSAs will be unveiled at the organization’s National Forum (to view this PSA click here). Dowling will be providing the keynote for the event, which will focus on the headway made in New York on sepsis prevention. According to the Foundation, New York has led the way in its holistic approach to sepsis prevention, treatment and awareness.

The World Sepsis Congress will bring together 70 world-leading experts on sepsis, infectious diseases and public health. Among the topics discussed will be sepsis prevention, research, wellbeing of caregivers and patient safety. Feinstein President and CEO Kevin J. Tracey, MD, will present a keynote, “Lessons Learned on the Pathophysiology of Sepsis.” Dr. Doerfler will also present a workshop entitled, “A Health Care Provider’s Success to Reduce Sepsis Deaths.”

In its fifth year, The Sepsis Alliance’s Sepsis Heroes Gala honors people and organizations that have made a significant contribution to sepsis awareness and education among both the general public and healthcare professionals. Dr. Doerfler will be among the select few to be recognized.

Beyond the Northwell Sepsis Task Force, Feinstein Institute researchers have made studying sepsis a focus for many years. Investigator Clifford S. Deutschman, MS, MD, is conducting further study to identify additional signs/factors to help health professionals diagnose sepsis. To support Dr. Deutschman’s research in sepsis, click here. Dr. Tracey and Chief Scientific Officer Ping Wang, MD, are looking for the triggers of sepsis-related inflammation and methods to reduce it.

About The Feinstein Institute

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the 2,000 researchers and staff of the Feinstein are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit

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