Needless tragedy of boy, 12, who died just three days after doctors missed raging infection from cut to arm he got playing basketball
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
12 July 2012
A 12-year-old boy died three days after cutting his arm playing basketball because doctors failed to spot deadly bacteria ravaging his body and sent him home with painkillers, his parents claim.
Rory Staunton, from Queens, New York, suffered a soaring temperature, vomiting and excruciating pain in his leg just hours after falling over and grazing his arm at school in April.
Although septic shock is a leading cause of death in hospitals and campaigns were underway to raise awareness of the horrific illness, physicians did not recognise Rory had the condition.
Rory's parents took the boy to their family doctor, Dr Susan Levitzky, who did not express concern at his high temperature, leg pain, vomiting or blotchy skin, but said it was best to visit a nearby hospital.
At the emergency room at NYU Langone Medical Center, doctors said he was suffering a stomach upset and dehydration. Dr Camille Scribner gave him fluids and sent him home with Tylenol.
Just three days later, he died in intensive care. Hospital records note the cause as severe septic shock brought on by the infection.
Doctors now believe he was gripped by an infection after a bacteria, streptococcus pyogenes, got through his cut.
The bacteria dwells naturally in the skin, but if it gets into the blood, it can move extremely quickly and the likelihood of stopping it are low. It is often hard to detect in the early stages.
DEADLY ILLNESS: STREPTOCOCCUS PYOGENES AND SEPTIC SHOCK
Rory was killed by septic shock after a bacteria named streptococcus pyogenes got through the cut on his arm and into his blood.
The bacteria lives naturally in the skin and the throat - areas of the body that have good defenses. It is the cause of strep throat and impetigo, but when it gets into the blood or soft tissue and is not treated, it can be deadly.
Rory's body went into sepsis - when the body's blood pressure drops in a response to spreading bacteria. Fast breathing, like Rory's, is an early sign of sepsis.
If it is not caught, it can result in shock, where the vital organs fail to function properly due to poor blood flow.
Sufferers will be admitted to the ICU and given large quantities of fluids and antibiotics intravenously.
Of the severest cases - around 650,000 a year - there is a 25 per cent chance of death. After blood pressure is noted as low, the chance of survival decreases by 7.6 per cent an hour.
Rory's parents said they were never told about blood tests indicating he was producing a startling number of white blood cells, which would suggest the bacterial infection.
'Nobody said anything that night,' his mother told the paper. 'None of you followed up the next day on that kid, and he's at home, dying on the couch?'...