Ron Emge, physical therapist with Summit Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, recently wore his shirt to spread sepsis awareness while climbing to the summits of Colorado's Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron.
Monday, September 26, 2016

WAYNESBORO, Pa. – They say some people will go to great lengths to make something happen or spread a message. Ron Emge of Waynesboro recently went to great feet – 14,148 and 14,238 to be exact – when he reached the summits of Colorado’s Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron, all while wearing a T-shirt to help spread sepsis awareness.

Emge is a physical therapist with Summit Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and received the shirt as part of Summit Health’s ongoing campaign to spread sepsis awareness and education among employees and the local community. The campaign kicked off at the beginning of September for Sepsis Awareness Month.

Emge noted that his shirt got some attention from emergency department nurses he met that work in Colorado Springs.

“They were very impressed that we are bringing awareness to sepsis,” he said. “Awareness is being spread!”

An avid hiker and rock climber, Emge said he is working to climb the summits of all Colorado peaks higher than 14,000 feet. He has 51 more to go.

‘Think sepsis’

Sepsis occurs as the result of the body’s life-threatening response to infection. It progresses in severity rapidly and if not diagnosed and treated quickly, it can cause lasting tissue damage, organ failure or even death. More than 250,000 people each year are affected by sepsis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently deemed sepsis a “medical emergency,” stressing the critical need for the same quick action and treatment provided to stroke or heart attack patients.

Common symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Fever, shivering or feeling very cold
  • Extreme pain or discomfort
  • Clammy or sweaty skin
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath
  • High heart rate

Alone, the symptoms may indicate a different diagnosis. Together, they could mean sepsis is present and quick medical treatment is imperative.

Summit Physical Medicine is an affiliate of Summit Health. For more information on sepsis, click here.