Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (August 7, 1963–August 9, 1963) was a son of United States President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. He was born five and a half weeks prematurely by caesarean section at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital, with a birth weight of 4 lb, 10 1/2 oz (2,112 g), and was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital, and died two days later of hyaline membrane disease. His obituary in The New York Times pointed out that, at that time, all that could be done "for a victim of hyaline membrane disease is to monitor the infant's blood chemistry and to try to keep it near normal levels. Thus, the battle for the Kennedy baby was lost only because medical science has not yet advanced far enough to accomplish as quickly as necessary what the body can do by itself in its own time".
Patrick Kennedy's death from hyaline membrane disease, now more commonly called respiratory distress syndrome, helped spark new public awareness of the disease and further research. As of 2004, the disease has a mortality of less than 15%, and treatment modalities are available today (continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), pulmonary surfactant replacement, and improved respirator technology) that were unavailable in 1963 even to the child of the United States President.
A funeral Mass was held on 10 August 1963 in the private chapel of Richard Cardinal Cushing in Boston. Patrick was initially buried at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. His death is said to have had a positive effect on the strained relationship of his parents. His father followed him in death just fifteen weeks later. Patrick's body and that of a stillborn sister, Anabella, were reinterred on 4 December 1963 alongside their father at Arlington National Cemetery, and later again moved to their permanent graves in Section 45, Grid U-35.
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