A Florida woman has written describing how the coverage of Rory Staunton and how he died from a bacterial infection heavily influenced her to demand for her son get prompt attention in an ER after her pediatrician had dismissed her concerns.
Cara Byington wrote to New York Times writer Jim Dwyer who revealed the story of how NYU hospital in New York misdiagnosed 12 year-old Rory, the son of Irish immigrants, and he died as a result. The hospital has now admitted their emergency procedures need to be improved dramatically.
Rory Staunton’s parents Ciaran and Orlaith described their happiness that the message on toxic shock is having an impact.
“We are happy for this family and we know telling Rory’s story will help many other parents recognize this deadly killer,” they said. “Rory would be delighted that he has helped possibly save a life.”
Ms Boyington wrote to Dwyer, “I read your heartbreaking story about Rory Staunton online Saturday night, and had no idea how close to home it would hit so quickly.
“I can't even think about what the Stauntons must be going through. And I have no idea if knowing that their son's story helped my child would be a comfort or not, and I would never want to cause them any more pain.
“You mentioned you knew the family so — if you think it would be helpful to them to know how much they helped us, please feel free to share our story with them. If not, I wanted you know how important your story was, not only for the greater good, but for individual lives as well.
“On Friday, my 12-year-old son was diagnosed and treated for a simple swimmer's ear infection. He woke up around 2 am Sunday morning with even more severe ear pain and since he did not seem to be getting better, I took him to the ER. They prescribed oral antibiotics to go with the antibiotic ear drops his pediatrician had given him on Friday, but they didn't do any blood work.
“On Monday, his ear started swelling away from his head. Back to his pediatrician, who did not seem to take it seriously. I asked about mastoiditis and cellulitis and was told that's rare. Continue with the antibiotics and bring him back tomorrow if he's not better. Sometimes this takes a while to get under control.
“I took him back home and could not get the Rory Staunton story out of my mind. His ear continued to swell and became hot to the touch. I rushed him back to the ER at our children's hospital here (Wolfson's — Jacksonville, Florida) where I was prepared to demand blood work. But the attending nurse and doctor took one look at him, said “possible mastoiditis” and quickly had him on IV antibiotics and scheduled for a CT scan to make sure the infection had not spread to his bones or his brain.
“We were very fortunate. It was still isolated to the skin in and around his ear and had not yet spread beyond that.
“The ER doctor told me, though, that we were probably down to hours before he was in serious trouble. He spent about 24 hours in the hospital under observation and on IV antibiotics. He's still on pretty stiff doses of oral antibiotics, but watching him today bouncing around like any almost-13-year old, you wouldn't know he was sick enough to be hospitalized two days ago.
"I don't know what would have happened if I had let it go for another day as the pediatrician suggested. Probably nothing good. But I do know that if I hadn't read Rory's story, I would not have been so quick to act decisively, so conscious of the possibility of septic shock, and so ready to take him to as many hospitals as necessary until someone took me seriously.