Maplewood Middle Schooler Zach Doubek fought off a life-threatening infection with MRSA in June 2014 that turned into sepsis. After enduring 23 days in the hospital (12 of them on a ventilator in a medically induced coma), multiple surgeries and grueling, ongoing physical therapy, Zach recovered and is now a happy and healthy 8th grader.
Now Zach’s mother, Marnie, wants to “pay it forward” and shine a light on sepsis, a common killer. “I am hopeful that sharing my son’s story will help raise community awareness of sepsis and perhaps even save lives. It is a perfect way to pay forward my family’s good fortune.”
A family physician who practices at Village Family Medicine in South Orange, Doubek sits on the board of the Sepsis Alliance, which works to save lives by raising awareness of sepsis as a medical emergency. She is seeking to raise money to help the organization expand its programs.
Sepsis is a body’s toxic, or severe, response to an infection, according to the Sepsis Alliance. This extreme inflammatory response is frequently caused by a bacterial or viral infection, such as pneumonia or influenza, but it can be caused by parasitic or fungal infections. The immune system, which is supposed to fight off the infection, goes into overdrive and begins to attack the body. Sepsis is a medical emergency and must be treated quickly and properly for survival.
Sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals and a disease that takes more lives than breast cancer, prostate cancer and AIDS combined.
But many people still don’t know what sepsis is. The recent death of actress Patty Duke, who developed sepsis after her intestine ruptured, has cast the disease into the spotlight.
Marnie Doubek will be giving a talk on sepsis at South Mountain Yoga (18 South Orange Ave., South Orange) on April 30 at 3:00 p.m., followed by refreshments and a Q&A session. There will also be a “by donation” class before the talk starting at 2:00 p.m. and a raffle that runs through the entire month of April. For details and to register, visit SALUTATIONS FOR SEPSIS.
If you can’t make the event but want to help, visit Doubek’s fundraising site to donate and help her reach her goal.