This picture was taken in December 2013, as Rowan and his mom were waiting for his dad to drop his sister off at the home of a good friend. Rowan was visiting the hospital as an outpatient, for a ‘routine’ diagnostic exam. This picture was taken at about 7 am. Approx 30 minutes later, Rowan experienced cardiac arrest during anesthetic induction and died.

We told his sister that he would pick her up from school that afternoon, and he would bring along a picture of his heart. We put his clothes in the washing machine, knowing that watching it spin would make him smile if he came home grouchy. We had plans to take him to ride in the fire truck for his first haircut the next day. We had plans to see the San Diego Zoo’s Christmas lights, where he and his sister would get their noses painted red by the Jumping Elves, and we would have our yearly family photo taken. We had plans to go to the Special Treasures Christmas party, where we would go on the hayride that his sister had been asking for all season. Rowan’s new Mr. Potato Head and his new race cars were secretly stored, waiting for Santa to come, and we had plans to see his face as he saw his presents on Christmas morning.

Instead, a dear friend brought his sister to the hospital to say good-bye as he lay dead. Instead, she woke up on Christmas morning to realize that even Santa can’t make wishes come true.

On the next few pages, we share our story. Please look at the menu above to read:

Rowan’s journey to his death (Why Rowan was killed)- our year-long reluctance, and the doctors’ year-long push for anesthesia

How Rowan was killed – what the doctors’ should have known, and why they didn’t see Rowan as a unique child with his own individual needs

What could have been done – the many recommendations for alternatives to anesthesia

The hospital’s denial of information – our struggle, and inability, to have the hospital answer our questions

Unanswered questions – our questions that remain

References – just a few of the resources that were readily available to Rowan’s doctors and our community

A note about sharing – a plea to be cautious and respectful of Rowan and his memory

With Rowan forever in our hearts,

Rowan’s mom, dad, and big sister








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Copyright © rowansmile 2014. All Rights Reserved. No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author. (Rowan was killed at Rady Children’s Hospital as a direct result of the carefree and unnecessary use of general anesthesia for a “routine” outpatient diagnostic procedure. We believe that his doctors were grossly negligent because they 1. Openly ignored our repeated concerns for our son’s safety, 2. Lied about their knowledge of and attention to the risk to Rowan’s life, and 3. Ignored our repeated requests for the avoidance of anesthesia)

** all quotes regarding Rowan’s care and diagnostics within this website, unless otherwise noted, were obtained from Rowan’s medical records, provided by Rady Children’s hospital.  These quotes were taken from the written medical notes of: Rowan’s cardiologist Dr. Raymond Fripp, Rowan’s geneticist Dr. Lynne Bird, Rowan’s pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist Dr. Kathleen Kaya, and Rady’s Chief of Cardiology Dr. John Moore.  Additional notes taken from personal conversations with ophthalmologist Dr. Shira Robbins and neurologist Dr. Doris Trauner, and letters from Rady’s Dr. Irwin Kaufman.