Archives for posts with tag: negligent doctor

It has been six months since Rowan was killed. This week, Rowan should be attending his first day of preschool.

The other day at dinner, Rowan’s sister started a familiar conversation:

Mommy, why did Rowan die?

“The doctors gave Rowan a medicine called anesthesia. Anesthesia usually makes people fall asleep, and then they wake up. But Rowan’s heart was different than ours, and he couldn’t have anesthesia. So the anesthesia made his heart stop working and he died.”
“Why couldn’t Rowan have anesthesia?”
“Because everyone is different. Just like your friend Molly can’t eat nuts. So we have to be careful because if we gave her nuts she might die. Rowan’s heart was built differently than ours, so he couldn’t have anesthesia. We don’t know exactly why. But we do know the doctors weren’t careful and gave it to him anyway, and he died.
You can eat nuts and you can have anesthesia, but everyone is different and there are certain things each person can’t have.”
“Why did they give him (anesthesia)?”
“I don’t know. Because they didn’t pay attention. They should have listened and should have known that he couldn’t have anesthesia without being very careful, but they didn’t.”
“If Rowan’s doctor didn’t make a mistake, would he have died?”
“No.”
This conversation could take place at any table. A child does not have to have special needs to be a victim of a doctor’s hubris, it can happen to a typical child as well. Your child.

In the last six months..

  • We have worked to hold onto memories of Rowan, saving every last drawing, every last item, every last picture of Rowan’s. We talk about him, and share our memories. We try to hold onto the dream that was once our reality.
  • We have tried to find peace in knowing that our story has spread around the world, and made a difference for the many people and families who have read it.
  • We have worked to plant Rowan’s tree, so that our daughter will having something living to remember him. We have made him a part of our daily life, in his absence.
  • We have learned, with much help, exactly why and how Rowan was killed, and who played each role in his death.  With this knowledge, we now begin to heal.
  • We have tried to carry on Rowan’s lesson of embracing goodness and kindness, and tried to see in the world around us as he did.
  • We have become friends with strangers, and strengthened friendships beyond what we ever imagined.
  • We have received a tremendous amount of help from those we hardly know, who have given freely without expectation.
  • We have become a part of a community of Williams Syndrome parents who have shared their stories, and exposed their hearts.  For these things, we are forever grateful.

But..

  • We have lost friends, and had others turn away to shield themselves from our grief.
  • We have tried to talk to Rowan’s doctors, his hospital, and the institutes that oversee them. We have received no reply. We have tried to get the information that exists about our own son. We have been turned away. We have tried to obtain an external review of Rowan’s case, which was promised to us.  We have been ignored.  Instead, we receive bills for the anesthesia that killed him. Instead, we hear about how Rowan’s doctors remain lauded with praise from their peers, and Rady Children’s Hospital remains one of the highest ranked pediatric heart centers in the nation.
  • We have tried to talk to the executive director of the Williams Syndrome Association. She, too, has met any criticism with silence. Instead, Terry Monkaba states widely that “The WSA wants to provide as much information as possible to all WS families.” At the same time, we receive stories from the very families who reached out to her to change the anesthetic risk information spread by the WSA, and were ignored. She also gives credit to the Williams Syndrome Association’s medical team and “esteemed cardiac anesthesiologist with a great deal of WS experience” (RT Collins) for the WSA website’s updated information, credit to the very doctors who withheld necessary information from our community, and widely spread false information.  It was very difficult for us to realize that this group, which is very helpful and supportive of the Williams Syndrome community in many ways, also contributed to something terrible.
  • We have heard from many families. Families who have tried to talk to their doctors about the anesthetic risk associated with Williams Syndrome, and been ignored. Families who have suffered tragic experiences and great losses, and were ignored by the Williams Syndrome Association when they tried to make a change. Families who have gone to doctors with research and concerns, and had doctors proceed without precautions. Families who want to be informed advocates for their children, just like we did.
  • And we have cried, and continue to do so, many times each day.

We continue to hope that our website spreads awareness among families and doctors. But in the end we are left empty-handed and empty-heartened, with the knowledge that Rowan’s death should not have been necessary for anesthetic risk to be taken seriously.
We hope to continue to remember Rowan through our lives. We hope to begin healing, and begin concentrating on his life. Someday, when we find the strength, we hope to share his joys by building a foundation.  Maybe it will be to share music and art with children in need.  Time will tell.
With Rowan in our hearts..

 

 

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.

It is widely known in current research that general anesthesia should not be given to a person with Williams Syndrome without great care. Yet his anesthesiologist, Dr. Kaya agreed to a signed document that she “was well-versed in the anesthetic risk associated with Williams Syndrome”. She then administered anesthesia to Rowan without taking any of the known precautions and did not administer Williams Syndrome appropriate life-saving procedures after Rowan’s cardiac arrest. Dr. Kaya is not considered a criminal. Instead, she is protected under the United States healthcare system. His cardiologist, Dr. Raymond Fripp, who insisted on using anesthesia to diagnose the very thing (coronary artery stenosis) that put Rowan at high-risk, is still practicing in high regard today. The Chief of Cardiology, Dr. John Moore, who falsified documents regarding the reason for Rowan’s death and the reason for his anesthetic procedure, is still praised among his peers. How is this possible?
We believe it is possible because the very people that are meant to oversee these doctors’ practices turned a blind eye to the crime that was committed (Donald Kearns, MD MMM, Rady Children’s Hospital; Christopher J Durovich, James E Schmerling, Children’s Hospital Association). The very establishments these doctors work for feed their hubris, while showing them that they will be immune to their own mistakes and ignorance.
Rowan had a high-risk of sudden death if given general anesthesia. Otherwise, he was a happy and energetic toddler whose heart was built differently than yours or mine. If I was notified of the risk of a child’s peanut allergy solely by her parents, and I dismissed their concerns and intentionally fed that child a bowl of peanuts, I would face criminal charges. Yet doctors of patients with Williams Syndrome routinely give anesthesia to these children without precaution, despite protests and concerns from their parents. And when those doctors kill a child, they are protected? We ask, how and why is this possible?
We have faith that you, our community and our society, will continue to right this wrong for those who are still lucky enough to have hope.

 

 

 

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.

This is the bill that arrived in today’s mail.

You’ll see the note at the bottom says: “failure to comply with this request may result in your account being placed with our collection agency immediately”.

Each time I receive these letters in the mail,  I feel like I am being delivered the smoking gun that murdered my child, and asked, “Oh, and can you pay for this?”

The bill for the anesthesia that killed Rowan.  Five months later, instead of admitting that Rowan was killed, the hospital chooses to keep adding insult to our tragic loss..

The bill for the anesthesia that killed Rowan. Five months later, instead of admitting that Rowan was killed, the hospital chooses to keep adding insult to our tragic loss..