The Boy Who Wanted to Fly - Maureen Dowd on Rory Staunton
NY Times columnist writes on tragic death of son of Irish immigrants
Every parent’s nightmare unfolded at warp speed, as the Web site Everyday Health reported and as Jim Dwyer heartbreakingly revealed in Thursday’s Times. Rory might have been saved by a swift dose of antibiotics but instead perished in a perfect storm of false assumptions, overlooked data and overburdened doctors.
Despite the cut, severe leg pain, blotchy skin and other clues pointing to sepsis, Rory’s pediatrician surmised that the vomiting, 102-degree fever, 140 pulse and 36 breaths a minute spelled a stomach bug and sent him to the NYU Langone Medical Center emergency room. Doctors there discharged Rory with an antinausea drug, even though his vital signs were alarming. The lab tests that were ordered came back three hours later showing abnormal production of white blood cells, a sign that infection could be raging, but that red flag was ignored.
“Nobody said anything that night,” his mother told Dwyer. “None of you followed up the next day on that kid, and he’s at home, dying on the couch?”
By Friday, Rory’s body was covered with blue streaks, and a touch made him scream. When Ciaran reached the pediatrician, she advised going back to the E.R. Rory was put in intensive care, where doctors valiantly tried to save his life, even suggesting amputating his nose and toes. But he was turning purple and black.
“For anyone that has carried their son’s or daughter’s coffin, it’s unnatural,” Ciaran told Sean O’Rourke on Friday on RTE, the Irish radio network. “A child who loses a parent becomes an orphan. If a man and wife lose each other, they become widow or widower. It’s so unnatural, there isn’t even a word for families who lose a child.”
Rory’s idol, Sully Sullenberger, was touched and left a message on the child’s tribute page. The hero of the Hudson is now an advocate for applying “lessons learned in blood” in aviation safety to patient safety.
“If something good comes from Rory’s death, it will be that we realize we have a broken system,” he told me. “Patient care is so fragmented. For the most part, medical professionals aren’t taught these human skills that some deride as ‘soft skills.’ So there’s insufficient sharing of information and ineffective communication.
“Some in the medical field look upon these deaths as an unavoidable consequence of giving care. But they’re inexcusable and unthinkable.”
Rory is up there now, with the laughing stars. But even before he got to heaven, he knew, as Saint-Exupéry wrote, that “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 15, 2012, on page SR11 of the New York edition with the headline: The Boy Who Wanted to Fly.
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A sibling can apply for an Irish passport. Any sibling of an Irish person meaning a sibling born outside of Ireland bonehead. One really does have toNelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning its arms during 2000 talks
Eiriamach!! The IRA were fighting state terrorism and had massive support in the 70's and 80's and I am disappointed you take the side of unionism andBill O’Reilly slams Nelson Mandela as an unrepentant “communist”
Some make a lot over the fact that Mandela associated with communists while looking over the fact that he also associated with capitalists. He was a nNelson Mandela once considered a terrorist by many Irish political leaders
You're not capable of carrying out an adult debate especially when most of your dribbling's are based on false premises chucky babe