A Pediatric Tragedy Due To An Incorrect Diagnosis

On March 28, a 12-year-old boy cut his arm diving for a basketball at a school gym. The next day, March 29 his parents took him to the pediatrician.  He was vomiting, feverish, and complaining of pain in his left leg. His pediatrician diagnosed gastroenteritis and dehydration and sent him to the emergency department for therapy.

The emergency physician agreed that he had a gastroenteritis and dehydration and he received IV fluid hydration. He was then discharged home with an antipyretic. And he was discharged from the emergency department that evening. His condition worsened that night at home and his parents heard him groaning.

The next morning,Friday, two days after the cut and the morning after the emergency department visit, the parents called his pediatrician. She advised the parents to take them back to the emergency department where he was admitted to the intensive care unit with  overwhelming sepsis.

Throughout the next two days he struggled for life in the intensive care unit. He died Sunday evening.

The parents of this young boy, Rory Staunton, have created a touching website to honor him and to educate all of us about toxic shock syndrome, the cause of his death.

The celebration ceremony of his life was filmed and it reveals the life of an admirable young man. It is available at https://www.rorystaunton.com/service.php.

Over the next few days, I will review information about Group A toxic shock syndrome and other causes of sepsis.


A 12 year old boy dies from sepsis—article in NYT July 11, 2012 at https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/nyregion/in-rory-stauntons-fight-for-his-life-signs-that-went-unheeded.html?ref=nyregion.

The Surviving Sepsis Campaign at https://www.survivingsepsis.org/Pages/default.aspx

The Stop Sepsis Collaborative at https://www.gnyha.org/6653/Default.aspx.

The Stop Sepsis Bundle Toolkit in 2006 at https://lomalindahealth.org/common/legacy/llumc/emergency/patientcare/documents/patientcare-sepsis.pdf.


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