MIDVALE, CA—The intensive care ward of Midvale Children's Hospital might not seem like the likeliest place for a happy story. But tragedy, if only for one brief moment, turned to celebration here this week when doctors brought a moment of joy into the life of Timmy Porter.
Seven-year-old Timmy, who died Sunday after a long bout with terminal hemodontis, got his final wish Monday—a small dose of Plucodan 4, the cure for hemodontis.
"That medicine was all Timmy ever dreamed about," said Janet Porter, the boy's mother. "Other children dream of toys or a new puppy, but not Timmy. From the very start of this ordeal, all he ever talked about were regular, life-saving doses of Plucodan 4."
Timmy was only five when doctors first diagnosed his hemodontis, an extremely rare disease that affects the hemoglotial valve, causing the ocuflebium to slowly expand until it bursts. One hundred percent fatal, hemodontis has only one cure: Plucodan 4.
"He begged for medicine day and night," Timmy's physician, Dr. Richard Parquat, said. "It was his greatest hope to one day receive life-saving injections of the drug. We listened to his pleas tearfully, holding his tiny hand as jolts of pain racked his frail body, trying to comfort him as best we could. But what could we do? Apart from giving him the medicine, of course."
Despite the love and affection of family, friends and doctors, Timmy continued to wither, growing steadily weaker day after day. Without the medicine, his swollen prenocular glands could not fight off the sickness.
Months passed, and soon it was clear that though he had struggled bravely, begging for medical treatment with all his strength, Timmy was dying.
"He was very weak toward the end," his mother recalled. "But he still managed to get out the words: 'Medicine... Must have... medicine.'"
"We tried everything," Parquat said. "Trips to Disneyworld, an autographed football from Joe Namath, you name it. We even flew in singer/songwriter Buffy St. Marie, who is renowned for her work with children, to sing a song of hope for Timmy on her acoustic guitar. But nothing worked. Only the Plucodan 4 seemed to cheer Timmy up."
Finally, at 8 p.m. Saturday, it was apparent that Timmy would not make it through the night. That's when the doctors got together and decided to make a dying boy's dream come true. Even though it was too late for the treatment to do any good, they gave him a dose of Plucodan 4.
"As I administered the drug, he looked up at me one last time," Parquat said, tears welling in his eyes. "I'll never forget his last words: 'Too late, too late.' It chokes me up just to think about it."
Little Timmy is gone now, his tiny, disease-racked body mouldering in a hospital storage room. But just before he closed his eyes that final time, a doctor made his greatest wish come true. And to those who knew and loved Timmy, that's all that really matters.
"We're considering taking his body out of the storage area, putting it in a coffin and burying it in the ground," his mother said. "I know it's unorthodox, but we feel that Timmy would have wanted it that way."