Combating Clostridium Difficile Infections Through Advocacy and Education

By on 9:35 AM

Peggy Lillis, a healthy, vibrant and loving woman who taught kindergarten in Brooklyn, New York, and a devoted mother who had singly raised two sons, succumbed to C. difficile infection in April 2010 at the young age of 57 after outpatient administration of antibiotics.

The impact that Peggy had on the lives of her friends, family, colleagues and students was apparent at her funeral, which was attended by 500 people. The outpouring of love, admiration and anger that was apparent during her wake, coupled with the apparent lack of public awareness and resources for sufferers of C. diff-associated disease, sparked the idea that her sons — Christian and Liam — could channel the grief and anger of all Peggy's loved ones into a force for positive change.

With the support of family and friends, Christian and Liam formed The Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation together in the summer of 2010.

With 300 Americans dying every day from this preventable disease, The Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation is building a movement of people across the country to raise awareness and advocate for proven healthcare and policy solutions.

The foundation's goal is to increase public awareness through providing education on an illness which, at a minimum, disrupts the lives of those afflicted, oftentimes permanently; an illness that is preventable for the most part, but is so poorly understood.

The following objectives are an integral part of the Foundation's mission:
  • Join Our Movement
  • Spread the Word
  • Share Your Story
  • Ask Your Healthcare Provider to Wash His/Her Hands
Phenelle Segal, founder of Infection Control Consulting Services, has not only a professional but also a personal interest in supporting the Foundation. For the past several years, Phenelle's efforts as a consultant have been heavily focused on C. diff infection prevention including running collaboratives in the Northeast relating to clinical interventions and misuse of antibiotics.

In addition, Phenelle's personal experience in late 2013, when she contracted a C. diff infection after administration of IV antibiotics for routine surgery and a 24-hour stay in an acute care hospital, increased her passion for prevention exponentially. Considered "fortunate" as she fully recovered, she sought to increase her involvement in providing education on C. diff, and connected directly with Christian Lillis after finding the Foundation's website online. She was inspired by Christian's passion, dedication and devotion to keep the Foundation's momentum moving forward. Phenelle joined the Foundation in 2014 as an advisory member.

To read more about the extensive efforts of the Foundation to improve the health and safety of potential victims of this illness, visit The Peggy Lillis Memorial Foundation at www.peggyfoundation.org.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.