Rory’s Law -- major effort underway to ensure kids kept safe in ER
New proposed law would force doctors to share blood tests, lab results
Rory Staunton, 12, was discharged from a New York emergency room last March as his body was in the throes of septic shock, an action that resulted in the boy’s death three days later.
Results of a blood test that would have saved his life were ignored by hospital staff, and now Rory’s grief-stricken Irish immigrant parents, Ciaran and Orlaith Staunton, are determined that no other family will suffer the same tragic fate.
The Stauntons, who appeared on the NBC Today Show on Wednesday are seeking to create a “Rory’s Law” in New York to ensure that parents have full access to blood and lab tests done on their children as soon as results are available, and that a doctor will be present to assess the findings.
Rory’s heart-rending story is again in the news due to a lengthy report by Jim Dwyer in The New York Times last Thursday which exposed a series of major errors by Rory's pediatrician and emergency room staff at NYU Langone Medical Center who diagnosed him with a stomach virus – even though blood tests taken at the hospital showed clear evidence of a raging septic infection taking root in his defenseless body. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd also wrote about the case.
The blood results, though, were never acted upon by the pediatrician, Dr. Susan Levitzky, or the attending physicians at NYU who released Rory to his parents’ care with the diagnosis of a stomach virus.
The next day, however, with his condition severely worsened, Rory was brought back to the emergency room where his parents were given the devastating reality – their only son was gravely ill, suffering from septic shock likely obtained from a basketball game cut at school two days earlier. Rory died in the hospital two days later, on Sunday, April 1.
If the blood tests taken on Rory’s first visit to the emergency room were acted upon he would have been prescribed a strong series of IV antibiotics that would have saved his life. Now the Stauntons are mounting an effort to pass Rory’s Law to avoid a similar tragedy occurring in the future.
“Parents shouldn’t have to wait until their child is dead to see blood work results,” a broken-hearted Ciaran Staunton told the Irish Voice on Tuesday.
The Stauntons, also parents to 10-year-old Kathleen, have traveled to Albany to meet with state officials about the effort, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. They are also liaising with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office with an eye towards introducing Rory’s Law early next year.
“What happened to Rory wasn’t a failing of human nature. It was professional incompetence. Rory’s blood work was right in front of their eyes and they did nothing until it was too late,” Staunton, a native of Co. Mayo and owner of two Irish bars/restaurants in New York, said.
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