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Dismissed as dehydration, a deadly infection that could’ve been prevented killed Rory Staunton, a 12-year-old boy who dreamed of becoming a pilot. His death will forever echo the negligence of the physician who failed to diagnose his condition.

According to the New York Times, Rory cut his arm while diving for a basketball at school. He was taken to the pediatrician’s office the next day vomiting, feverish, and complaining that his leg hurt.

“We showed her the cut on his elbow,” said Rory’s mom, Orlaith. “She said, ‘The cut’s not an issue.’”

The pediatrician, Dr. Susan Levitsky, also dismissed the pain in Rory’s leg as a result of falling while diving for the basketball.

When Rory’s parents told Levitsky that his skin became blotchy when pressed with a fingertip, she noted it in his chart, which Rory’s mom shared with the New York Times.

An infectious disease specialist who never saw Rory reportedly told the Times that that blotchiness could’ve meant Rory’s blood vessels were constricting due to low blood pressure. Equally “worrisome,” according to the specialist, was his 102-degree fever and the fact that he was taking 36 breaths per minute. She allegedly never relayed these things to Rory’s mother. She merely referred him elsewhere. As she told the Times when asked for comment, “I sent him to a major medical center.”

At the emergency room, the doctors diagnosed Rory with an upset stomach and dehydration. Doctors gave him fluids and told his mother to give him Tylenol.

Little did Rory know that deadly bacteria had entered his body, most likely through the cut, to consume him. He died three days later.

“Early recognition would have saved him,” a memorial website states.

NYT reported that doctors ignored signs that Rory was infected with sepsis, a leading cause of death in hospitals.

Rory’s mom claims doctors never told her about the abnormal lab results showing cells multiplying to fight infection. The Staunton family has hired a medical malpractice attorney but has not released details on how it will proceed.

To learn more about Rory and for information about group A streptococcal infections, please visit

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