11-Year-Old Dies From Small Cut Despite His Parents' Best Efforts to Save Him

hospital bedThis story scares the hell out of me.

Rory Stanton, 11, cut his arm playing basketball. A few days later he went to his pediatrician and then to the hospital emergency room. The doctors agreed he was suffering from dehydration -- he was given fluids, told to take Tylenol, and was sent home. He died 3 days later.

Rory, it turns out, was suffering septic shock from a staph infection.

As a parent, an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed medical condition that turns fatal is one of my biggest fears. When I was in my twenties, I had a 9-year-old student who I saw on a Thursday -- and by the following Tuesday I was attending her viewing. If you’ve never had the misfortune of attending a child’s funeral, trust me, it's something that sticks with you forever. The pain and emptiness that the loss left with her parents is something that I never want to experience.


This was preceded by my nephew’s leukemia diagnosis a few years earlier. He was three!! Who expects a three-year-old to be diagnosed with life threatening cancer? A child being gravely ill can shock you into a new state of existence. You begin to question all that you ever believed in. It creates a fear in you that compels you to see passed the moment and to do anything and everything possible to save that child. The alternative is too gruesome to even consider.

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Rory Staunton had a sick stomach. My nephew had bruising. My student had a general feeling of malaise. In each case, it took more than one return visit to the doctor’s office for the doctor to make the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, some illnesses progress faster than others.

This is why we parents must follow our guts and, in some cases, pursue treatment if we feel that the medical professionals are not curing what ails our child. As parents, we know our children and sometimes we can see things that a professional who only sees our child on the occasional basis might miss. We have to be the advocates for our children no matter what. Even if it may feel uncomfortable or like we are stepping on other people's toes, we have to do what we feel is best for our children. The cost is too high.

From my own experience, I always follow my gut feeling. If I feel treatment is not working or that there may be something more, I have no problem pushing for additional testing or getting a second or even third opinion. I can mend fences and survive hurting a doctor’s feelings; the same cannot be said about the loss of my children.

Rory Staunton’s parents kept taking him back. They did the right thing but the doctors missed it. The doctors figured out what was wrong too late to do anything about it. Sometimes we have to do things as parents that push us out of our comfort zone in order to do what’s best for our children.

What would you do to save your child?


Image via dreamingofariz/Flickr

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