The Medical Equivalent of a Hail Mary Pass

The New York Times, Tuesday, July 30, 2013

THE DOCTOR’S WORLD: Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.

A Kennedy Baby’s Life and Death: The battle to save a president’s premature son would likely have a different outcome today.  Washington–Fifty years ago this summer, the nation was transfixed by a medical drama that is now largely forgotten: the desperate struggle to a save the life of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the first baby born to a sitting president and first lady since the 19th century.  Five and a half weeks premature delivered by Caesarian section on August 7, 1963,… Patrick immediately began to have trouble breathing…

Patrick died just 39 hours after his birth, a victim of what was then the most common cause of death among premature infants in the United States, killing an estimated 25,000 babies each year: hyaline membrane disease, now known as respiratory distress syndrome.”

Transferred from Cape Cod to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, the physician’s tried for the medical equivalent of  a “Hail Mary’s Pass.” to use a pressurized device …to increase blood oxygen, which the hospital had tried on premature babies two or three times without success. Unfortunately, Patrick died.  The effort didn’t work.

A Hail Mary’s Pass is a football term, which can be understood by looking at previous blogs or at http://www.sports



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