Patrick Bouvier Kennedy
Gravestone in the Kennedy family plot in Arlington National Cemetery
August 7, 1963|
Otis Air Force Base, Bourne, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||August 9, 1963
(aged 2 days)|
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Cause of death||Hyaline membrane disease|
|Parent(s)||John F. Kennedy (1917–1963)
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (1929–1994)
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy (August 7, 1963 – August 9, 1963) was the last child of United States President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. He was the younger brother of Caroline and John, Jr.
Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born by emergency caesarean section five-and-a-half weeks prematurely 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, now 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. At that time, all that could be done for a baby with hyaline membrane disease was to make efforts to keep the patient's blood chemistry as close to normal as possible.
Patrick 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. 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 – the final resting place of Rose and Joe Kennedy – in Brookline, Massachusetts. His body and that of a stillborn sister, whom 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.
The First Lady and the President were deeply affected by the death and it also had an impact on their marriage. Upon their departure from Otis Air Force Base, the couple – seldom publicly affectionate – were seen holding hands. Secret Service agent Clint Hill recalled the couple having "a distinctly closer relationship" that was visible following Patrick's death. Press secretary Pierre Salinger believed that while the President and First Lady had been brought closer by the White House, even more so were they by the passing of their last child.
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