Rauner signs 'Gabby's Law' at emotional ceremony

Rauner signs 'Gabby's Law' at emotional ceremony

URBANA — In an emotional ceremony Thursday morning, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed "Gabby's Law," a bill named in honor of a 5-year-old Monticello girl who died four years ago after a tick bite went undetected and developed into sepsis.

The bill (SB 2403), which Rauner signed at Presence Covenant Medical Center in Urbana, requires Illinois hospitals to develop evidence-based protocols for the early recognition and treatment of sepsis.

Sepsis is the "toxic response to an infection," said Kathy Johnson, an operations director and Telehealth team member for the Presence Health system.

"It can happen to any one of us from something that seems fairly simple, like a fall on the playground, a nick at the nail salon or a urinary tract infection," said Johnson. "Sepsis is the third-leading cause of death in the United States and it really doesn't have to be this way. There are over 1.6 million cases of sepsis per years in the United States, and over half of Americans don't know the early warning symptoms."

Gabriella "Gabby" Galbo died on May 11, 2012, after her sepsis went undiagnosed until she was transferred to OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, days after she first treated by area physicians. Tony and Liz Galbo, Gabriella's parents, sued Carle and a number of Carle physicians and in March reached a $4 million settlement. The hospital admitted no liability in the wrongful death settlement.

Rauner met with the Galbo family privately before signing the bill and emerged, like others, red-eyed. Several people at the bill-signing ceremony were sobbing.

"Today is a very important day for the people of Illinois. Today we take a tragedy, the death of an innocent little girl, and we try to turn it into good public policy for the people of Illinois, to save lives," said Rauner.

He said he hadn't known anyone whose illness developed into sepsis.

"This really, in many ways, is about raising awareness. It's such a terrible disease and a danger and yet most people don't know anything about it so this is about raising awareness," the governor said. "This meant a lot to me personally. No one should have to bury their child. This is a condition that is taking lives at an accelerated rate. It's killing 250,000 Americans every year and we've got to raise awareness and help hospitals deal with this on a proactive, timely basis."

Tony Galbo, who testified before legislative panels about the bill and was present when the Senate and House passed it earlier this year, said Thursday, "The state of Illinois needs to take care of its citizens and today they are taking care of their citizens. Every hospital needs to mandate this protocol. There are hospitals that have been doing this protocol for many years, but this is for the hospitals that have not."

He said that Illinois and New York state are the first two states to "have broken ground" on sepsis treatment "and the rest of the 48 states need to break ground so the rest of the United States does not have to" suffer the loss he and his wife did.

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on August 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm
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Big slap in the face to the Vatican. Clever of Rauner to announce "evidence-based protocols" at a hospital notorious for employing/requiring ideological protocols in place of family-based family planning.

ChrisMofCU wrote on August 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

The bill was signed into law at a Presence facility because they have had a sepsis detection and treatment protocol in place throughout the Presence Health system for years. The bill is aimed at awareness and saving lives, please keep your political agenda out of it. Thank you to Gabby's family for helping prevent other tragedies like their own.

aantulov wrote on August 19, 2016 at 4:08 am

Shameless show boating. How many children may die this year as a direct result of underfunded health education, due to a refusal to work on the part of elected officials?
And making this law is not funding it's implementation. Mr. Obama, health insurance is not healthcare! If you cant get a second opinion out of network, protocols are after the fact.
How about a law that elected officials are fined personally, on a percentage of their income, if they refuse to work on a budget and are forced to give up their seats in a special election in six months, and are banished from Illinois politics. People who want to work should have access to these jobs they refuse to do. Two years without a budget! Enough!

Bulldogmojo wrote on August 19, 2016 at 8:08 am


Ooh It's a good thing Rauner signed this bill because hospitals have never even heard of sepsis. I'm pretty sure it never is mentioned in medical or nusing school. Ugh

Be careful folks...when you have politicians practicing medicine through mandates you open the door for them to make decisions on your healthcare FOR YOU thereafter and usually religiously motivated. You know like shoving a sonogram wand up inside of you for even thinking about an abortion. Ugh

C mon man wrote on August 22, 2016 at 3:08 pm

Huh. I always thought sonograms were non-invasive. You learn something new everyday.