Parents on hand for Senate OK of Gabby's Law


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SPRINGFIELD — Tony and Liz Galbo of Monticello had just received a standing ovation from the Illinois Senate and were dabbing tears in the Senate gallery after passage of a bill known as "Gabby's Law," named in honor of the young daughter taken from them in May 2012.

"The bill is very important," Tony Galbo said minutes after the Senate voted unanimously for SB 2403. "We're very emotional. Now we're seeing the outpouring because people don't know our story. We've kept quiet.

"This bill is very important to us and it's going to make an impact. A lot of people think it's not going to make an impact. They're wrong. It's going to make a huge impact."

The bill, which now moves to the House, requires Illinois hospitals to adopt, implement and periodically update protocols for the early recognition and treatment of patients with sepsis or septic shock.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. It is difficult to predict, diagnose, and treat."

"Everyone's going to have to have this protocol based on scientific standards of early detection and intervention of sepsis," said sponsor Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet. "The second part is about raising awareness. This is the number seven killer of people in this country."

As he spoke for the bill on the Senate floor, Rose became emotional.

"We certainly appreciate everyone's vote," he said, "and more importantly, we hope that as everyone leaves today and goes home and you talk to your health care providers and your hospitals about Medicaid funding and all the other things we talk about in health care, that you just ask them, 'Hey, what are you doing to treat and catch and detect sepsis?' So in honor of Gabby, thank you."

Earlier, when he introduced the bill, Rose assured his colleagues "that what you do here today is going to save lives."

The Galbos believe it.

"It's going to save seniors. It's going to save children, which is most important. It's going to save you," said Tony Gablo. "Sepsis does not discriminate."

The Galbos, who say they reached an out-of-court settlement in December with Carle Foundation Hospital in a lawsuit over their daughter's death, say Gabby passed away from sepsis, which had gone untreated for days. She hung on from May 1, the first day she presented a 104-degree temperature, until her death on May 11.

"I think her story needs to be heard, I really do," said Liz Galbo. "She was such a fighter."

"This is a huge start because if it even saves 5,000 people a year, a small percentage of that 250,000 people, that's 5,000 family members, friends, kids," said Tony Galbo. "She was 2-1/2 months away from her (6th) birthday. She was the most kind child. She had the biggest heart."


Tom Kacich is a columnist and the author of Tom's Mailbag at The News-Gazette. His column appears Sundays. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@tkacich).