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Good Samaritan of the Year Award 2024

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Good Samaritan of the Year Award 2024

Brooke DeSantis has been named the recipient of Frederick Health’s Good Samaritan of the Year award for her advocacy and activism in the prevention of sepsis. Sepsis affects at least 1.7 million Americans each year, claiming an estimated 350,000 lives. Ms. DeSantis received the award on May 22 during the hospital’s annual recognition event attended by hospital benefactors and guests.

Lesser known than many medical conditions, sepsis – they body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response some people experience with a bacterial infection, COVID-19, flu, or a fungal infection – can lead to serious tissue damage, organ failure, and death. Sepsis is the leading cause of death in hospitals nationwide. It is often called the ‘silent killer’ because many symptoms can be confused with, or related to, other common medical conditions.

Devastated by the sudden loss of their 5-year-old son, Lochlin, to flu-induced sepsis in January 2020, Brooke and William DeSantis vowed to educate and protect as many people as possible from the deadly impact of the influenza virus and sepsis.

Within nine months of Lochlin’s death, the couple had established a non-profit organization, Love for Lochlin, organizing outdoor pop-up clinics across Frederick County. There, the Love for Lochlin team educates residents about the lethality of influenza and sepsis and administers free flu shots. If not for the clinics, many attendees would not have access to the education or vaccines.

Ms. DeSantis quickly expanded the scope of these pop-up clinics in 2021-2022 through alliances with Frederick Health, the Frederick County Health Department, the national Sepsis Alliance, as well as the nursing school programs at Hood College, Frederick Community College, and Mount St. Mary’s University. In addition to flu shots, clinic attendees receive free COVID testing, immunizations, masks and hand sanitizers, food, and clothing giveaways, and more, all supported by local nonprofit organizations, businesses, and the generosity of private citizens and foundations. Today, the alliances continue to expand, providing additional services to clinic attendees.

Love for Lochlin organized 43 clinics in its first year, administering 644 immunizations. Since the nonprofit’s founding, more than 360 such clinics have been organized, providing nearly 5,150 vaccinations. Love for Lochlin is an entirely volunteer, unsalaried effort.

Already reaching thousands of Frederick County residents, Ms. DeSantis wanted to do more. She wanted to ensure that standardized diagnostic and treatment protocols for sepsis were instituted in all Maryland hospitals and urgent care centers. In the State of Maryland, some 85 adults and 20 children are diagnosed with sepsis each day. Through Ms. DeSantis’ relentless efforts, when Lochlin’s Law is enacted in January 2025, hospitals and urgent care centers across the State will be required to implement evidence-based protocols for the early recognition and treatment of sepsis and septic shock. Her work to expand Lochlin’s Law nationwide has already begun.

Ms. DeSantis has turned a personal tragedy into opportunity. The mission of Love for Lochlin is to educate and protect as many people as possible from the deadly impacts of the Influenza virus. “No one should have to go through the pain and suffering of losing a loved one from a vaccinable disease,” said Ms. DeSantis.

Past recipients of the Good Samaritan of the Year award are: Alden E. Fisher, Charles L. Snyder, Nancy Szymanski, Julia E. Hanna, Charles W. Hoff, III, L. Eugene Johnson, Charles V. Main, Alfred P. Shockley, Dr. Albert M. Powell, Jr., Barbara L. Rickman, Charles and Kathryn Nicodemus, Dr. Henry P. and Page Laughlin, Pat Throne, Debbie Williams, Donald C. Linton, Peter H. Plamondon, Dr. Harvey Levy, Gail T. Guyton, Carl and Norma Miller, Bess and Frank Gladhill, Kathryn M. “Kitty” Reed, Sue Scott Nisenfeld, Madeline M. Best, George C. Stauffer, Marion D. Carmack, Jr., Richard E. Markey, J. R. Ramsburg, Jr., Marvin and Lisa Ausherman, Dr. P. Gregory Rausch, Jeffrey and Patricia Hurwitz, Dr. Dana G. Cable, Karlys Kline, James S. Grimes, George and Bettie Delaplaine, Dr. Julio Menocal, W. Jerome Offutt, Bob and Betty Waltz, Dick and Sue Basford, Elizabeth Chung, Philip A. Berkheimer, J. Ray Ramsburg, III, the Frederick Health Employees, Medical Staff & Auxiliary Volunteers, Ted and Alyce Luck, Dr. Wayne Allgaier, and Dr. Peter Kremers.