When we arrived at the ER, she showed classic signs of a massive
blood infection. As her body went into shock, the medical staff
treated her classically. But her body did not respond to treatment.
Talking to the attending physician later, he noted how unusual that
was. She was totally lucid and talkative until the moment they needed
to anesthetize her, which was extremely unusual. The treatment that
they gave her did not work, now speculating because it was the wrong
treatment. As her body broke down, her brain stayed active.
They explored many possibilities- meningococcemia,
toxic shock from tampons, a spider bite, and even intentional poisoning.
But nothing panned out. They found none of the toxins or bacteria
one would expect to find. They investigated, as did the CDC. Nothing.
But they did find problems with her thyroid. Although
the pathologist said it was central to the event, which he called
myxedema coma, other doctors since have called his diagnosis ridiculous
because her symptoms would have been different. It sounds as though
there was pressure to diagnose. I have lost some confidence in Nationwide
Children's Hospital because of this, but not enough to not take
an ailing child there. Because Sarah declined so quickly in the
ER, there is no reason for us to believe that she could have been
saved. There just was not time for a correct treatment be administered.
There just wasn't time.
So whatever Sarah's cause of death, we now have
proof that Sarah was not just a one in a million kid, but one of
a kind. Anyone who endured her passions of Science Olympiad and
the Periodic Table, or who listened to her endless spirited repetition
of Finding Nemo lines, knows this is the case.
Note: We received the final report on 9/10/05, just
three days short of a full year. A well respected physician who
read it commented that it was one of the most thorough pathology
reports she had ever read, so John and I are confident that the
pathologist tried, just did not have enough evidence. Of all the
things noted on it were her nails...."painted with speckled
blue, red and silver toenail polish." I know she would have
been glad that they were noticed. Sarah... we will forever love
What happened- written 9/04
A discussion with the attending physician