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 died) – our year-long reluctance, and the doctors’ year-long push for anesthesia

How Rowan died – 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 -All of this research was readily available to cardiologists prior to Rowan’s death. Much of it has been readily available since before Rowan was diagnosed.

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





Please visit the “About sharing” page for access to the password protected portions of this site.

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.