Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Gravestone in the Kennedy family plot in Arlington National Cemetery
August 7, 1963|
Otis Air Force Base, Bourne, Massachusetts
|Died||August 9, 1963
(aged 2 days)|
Cause of death
|hyaline membrane disease|
|Parents||John F. Kennedy (1917–1963)
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929–1994)
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (August 7, 1963 – August 9, 1963) was the youngest child of United States President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and brother to Arabella (a stillborn baby girl), Caroline, and John Jr.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born by emergency caesarean section five and a half weeks early at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital in Bourne, Massachusetts. His birth weight was 4 pounds 10 1⁄2 ounces (2.11 kg). Shortly after birth he developed symptoms of Hyaline Membrane Disease, also called Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome (IRDS). He was transferred to Boston Children's Hospital where he died two days later, following treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. His obituary in The New York Times stated that, at that time, all that could be done for a baby with Hyaline Membrane Disease was to "monitor the infant's blood chemistry and to try to keep it near normal levels."
Kennedy's death, eclipsed a few months later by his father’s assassination in Dallas, did in time help spark interest in research on prematurity and led to innovations in the care of premature infants, which gave rise to the pediatrics subspecialty neonatology. At present, IRDS occurs in about 60 to 80 percent of babies born before 28 weeks gestation, but only in 15 to 30 percent of those born between 32 and 36 weeks. About 25 percent of babies born at 30 weeks gestation develop IRDS severe enough to need a mechanical ventilator (breathing machine). The more premature the baby, the higher the risk and the more severe the IRDS. Over 90 percent of babies with IRDS survive.
A funeral mass was held on August 10, 1963, in the private chapel of Cardinal Richard Cushing in Boston. The child was initially buried at Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. His body and that of a stillborn sister, whom Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy called Arabella, were re-interred on December 5, 1963, alongside their father at Arlington National Cemetery, and later again moved to their permanent graves in Section 45, Grid U-35.
- America's Royalty: All the Presidents' Children, by Sandra L. Quinn-Musgrove, Sanford Kanterand, 1995.
- Altman, Lawrence K. (29 July 2013). "A Kennedy Baby’s Life and Death". The New York Times (New York, New York). Retrieved 29 July 2013.
- Stevens, Timothy; Sinkin, Robert (May 5, 2007). ""Surfactant Replacement Therapy"". CHEST Journal (American College of Chest Physicians) 131: 1577–1582. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- "Hyaline Membrane Disease / Respiratory Distress Syndrome". Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
- The Kennedy White House: Family Life and Pictures, 1961-1963, by Carl Sferrazza Anthony, 2002.
- Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House, by Sally Bedell Smith, 2004.
- President John F. Kennedy on the Death of His Infant Son Patrick Bouvier Kennedy Shapell Manuscript Foundation