Medical Misdiagnosis Lead to Sepsis Death of 12-Year-Old Boy

Laura Woods | October 20th, 2014

mom hugging child

Health official recently met in Washington, D.C. to strategize against sepsis ─ a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection that kills more than 250,000 Americans each year. Sepsis has become such a major problem in the U.S., that it is now the third-highest cause of death behind only heart disease and cancer.

The condition claimed the life of 12-year-old Rory Staunton, after the young boy sustained an injury in gym class. Approximately 24 hours after scraping his arm while jumping to catch a ball, he started feeling ill. His parents took him to the hospital, where doctors wrongly diagnosed him with the flu. Rory died just three days later from sepsis. Doctors never even hinted the condition could be to blame for his symptoms until after he had already passed away.

The onset of sepsis is triggered by an infection entering the bloodstream. For Rory, after he scraped his arm, his immune system had an overly aggressive response that ultimately resulted in the failure of his organs.

Rory’s parents are now working hard to raise awareness for the condition, so other parents don’t have to lose a child like they did. The couple says being uninformed about sepsis is their greatest regret and they want to help other parents know how to identify the signs.

Facts about sepsis

Anyone can develop sepsis, but the condition is most frequently found in older adults and people with weakened immune systems. The earlier the condition is identified, the greater the chances of survival, as doctors are able to administer antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids to combat symptoms.

Careful medical attention is required to treat sepsis, as many symptoms are similar to those commonly associated with the flu ─ which is what happened in Rory’s case. Many doctors consider sepsis to have three states, going from mild, to dangerous, to septic shock.

A patient must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with mild sepsis:

  • Body temperature above 101F or below 96.8F
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats per minute
  • Respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths per minute
  • Likely or confirmed infection

Severe sepsis is a sign that at least one organ may be failing. Patients must exhibit at least one of the following symptoms to be considered in this stage:

  • Significantly low urine output
  • Sudden change in mental state
  • Low platelet count
  • Problems breathing
  • Irregular heart pumping function
  • Abdominal pain

When a patient exhibits the signs of severe sepsis, coupled with extremely low blood pressure that doesn’t properly react to simple fluid replacement, there’s a good chance they have entered septic shock.

New York medical misdiagnosis lawsuit

When you’re feeling under the weather, you trust that your doctor will create a treatment plan to make you feel better ─ not worse. Unfortunately, some physicians fail to properly diagnose their patients, putting them at risk for very serious conditions, sometimes even resulting in death. If you or a loved one has fallen victim to a medical misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, time away from work and medical bills.

For more information about filing a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit in New York, contact The Sanders Firm. One of our skilled NY Sepsis misdiagnosis lawyers will meet with you for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case. We’re here to protect the rights of patients living in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island.

Call us toll-free today at 1-800-FAIR-PLAY (1-800-324-7752) to schedule your appointment.