NYC Doctors Seriously Drop The Ball As Tween Dies From Cut
Imagine for a moment that your 12-year-old comes in and tells you that he opened a cut on his arm during gym class. He tells you that the athletic director slapped some band aids on the wound and gym class proceeded as usual. The next day, he’s vomiting and feverish, but doctors tell you it’s just a bad flu that’s going around. Two nights later, he dies in the intensive care unit.
Such is the story of Rory Staunton, a kid who went into severe septic shock following an infection.
The New York Times reports that sepsis can first appear like less serious symptoms. But where doctors really dropped the ball with Rory was that they had data suggesting the flight enthusiast to be fatally ill. Vitals that were collected prior to Rory being discharged from the hospital were not reviewed by doctors. His parents didn’t have any clue:
Critical information gathered by his family doctor and during his first visit to NYU Langone was not used, was not at hand or was not viewed as important when decisions were made about his care, records show.
Moments after an emergency room doctor ordered Rory’s discharge believing fluids had made him better, his vital signs, recorded while still at the hospital, suggested that he could be seriously ill. Even more pointed signals emerged three hours later, when the Stauntons were at home: the hospital’s laboratory reported that Rory was producing vast quantities of cells that combat bacterial infection, a warning that sepsis could be on the horizon.
Nobody from NYU followed up with the family about the results either as concern from Rory’s parents mounted. A mother’s intuition perhaps had Rory’s mother, Orlaith Staunton, calling on the family pediatrician, Dr. Susan Levitzky, after his fever hit 104 degrees. Rory’s mother presented the cut, but even the family’s doctor of five years didn’t see a connection:
We showed her the cut on his elbow, and I saw her follow up his arm from the cut,” Ms. Staunton said. “She said, ‘The cut’s not an issue.’ She focused on his stomach. We said, ‘Although you see him throwing up, that’s not what he’s really complaining about.’ Rory and I both said to her that it’s the pain in his leg that’s really bothering him.”
Rory’s parents have hired a lawyer but are reportedly unsure of how to push ahead with a case. But it seems that the best place to start would be those emergency room doctors who let a gravely ill boy go home.