HCA is honored and has the distinct privilege of presenting our inaugural “Shining Light” award to Jillian Thibault.
HCA first had the opportunity to work with Jillian two years ago when the national organization Sepsis Alliance selected HCA to develop an informational video about sepsis and home health care. The VNA of Albany had recommended that Jillian be a part of the video, speaking from her perspective as a sepsis survivor and a home care patient at the VNA.
Jillian not only had an important story to tell, but it became immediately evident to HCA that she also possessed a uniquely powerful voice, making her an exceptional patient advocate. She soon asked to further work with us 100 percent on behalf of sepsis survivors.
Jillian began to experience chronic bouts of sepsis because a severe medical condition affecting her digestive functions — gastroparesis — requires daily infusions of intravenous nutrition and a central venous access point that presents a constant risk of infection.
Infection-induced sepsis has brought Jillian to the hospital many times for urgent medical care — occurring so often that she’s become immune to some broad-spectrum antibiotics which are necessary to fight sepsis.
While the VNA regularly screens Jillian for sepsis prevention and early identification of sepsis, Jillian has, most importantly, learned to self-observe for symptoms.
She has also learned that it takes determination and assertiveness to immediately reach out for the kinds of services or interventions that her own experiences tell her are necessary.
In the past two years, Jillian has volunteered her voice, experience, and wisdom whenever called upon by HCA or others to help raise awareness among the public, elected officials, and the health care community about a condition that remains fundamentally misunderstood despite the fact that sepsis causes more deaths than cancer, occurs more commonly than a heart attack, and ranks as the single most expensive medical condition nationwide.
In September 2019, Jillian travelled to New York City to join HCA at the Sepsis Alliance national Sepsis Heroes recognition ceremony, taking the stage as an inspiration in her battles against sepsis.
That October, Jillian joined HCA again in preparing a seminar to inform state legislators and their staff about the sepsis emergency and the need for action steps to address it.
She is now a consumer advisor on a major new 2021 phase of HCA’s Stop Sepsis at Home initiative, helping to advance new ground-breaking work in sepsis through home care and across the health continuum, including in pediatrics.
As a spokesperson, Jillian is continually sought-after to address state and national audiences, including a recent social media broadcast hosted by the New York State Office for the Aging in commemoration of Sepsis Survivors week in February 2021.
She has also recently lent her voice to Sepsis Alliance’s POWER the AMRevolution, a national initiative to educate about the risks of antimicrobial resistance and the steps people can take to end superbugs.
ABOUT THE AWARD
HCA’s new Patient “Shining Light” award is given to a patient who has confronted medical challenges or circumstances in a way that has achieved far-reaching inspirational and exemplary effects.