Doctors hopeful for new JFK son

By Alvin Spivak

BOSTON (UPI) -- President Kennedy received "some encouragement" from doctors today about the condition of his one-day-old son but the infant's breathing difficulty was still described as "serious and a cause of concern."

"But the doctors are hopeful," press secretary Pierre Salinger told reporters.


"The baby's condition remained about the same during the night. This is a source of some encouragement to doctor, who had felt it would probably get worse during the night.

"The baby's condition would have to be described as still serious but doctors are hopeful."

Dr. Lenden Snedeker, assistant to the general director of the hospital, described the baby as having light brown hair and said "he's a lovable little monkey."

In regard to the care Patrick is being given right now, Snedeker said: "Loving tender care, medicine, oxygen, and everything else we can do to correct the symptoms."

Salinger asked about the hyoleme membrane disease said: "The situation remains exactly as it was Wednesday night."


The president motored from the downtown hotel where he is staying to the Boston Children's Medical Center after a 10-minute drive behind a police escort.

One-day-old Patrick Bouvier Kennedy has been rushed to the specially equipped Children's Hospital Wednesday after his birth five and a half weeks ahead of time at Otis Air Force Base, Mass.

The president planned to divide his time today between the Children's Medical Center here, where his son is in a plastic-covered device which stimulates the environment of a mother's womb, and Cope Cod, with Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and their other two children.

Kennedy's schedule called for leaving the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where he spent the night after a 20-minute visit with his ailing son, at 9:45 a.m. EDT for a return trip to the hospital. After seeing the child, he planned to fly by helicopter to Otis AFB to visit his wife, who was in "excellent" condition.

Then, he was to spend much of the day in Hyannis Port, Mass., with daughter Caroline, 5 1/2, and son John Jr., 2 1/2, before going back to his wife's bedside in late afternoon and flying back to Boston for another visit with his son and another overnight stay.


The newest Kennedy was born by caesarean section at 12:52 p.m. EDT Wednesday, 38 minutes before a Jetstar transport plane with the president aboard landed at Otis AFB. Mrs. Kennedy had been whisked there by helicopter from her squaw island summer home in Hyannis Port shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT.

Because it was born prematurely and appeared to be having breathing problems, the child was baptized a short time after birth by the Rev. John Scahill of Portland, Maine, Catholic chaplain at Otis. He was named for Kennedy's grandfather, Patrick J., and father, Joseph Patrick, as well as for Mrs. Kennedy's father, whose surname was Bouvier.

Father Scahill said the newborn child looked "like Winston Churchill," adding that all newborns have that look.

He told an interview that the newest member of the Kennedy clan looked like a healthy infant despite the respiratory ailment.

White House press secretary Pierre Salinger told reporters in Boston Wednesday night that the infant, in a private room on the fifth floor of the Children's Medical Center, was suffering from an "idiopathic respiratory distress syndrome."

"In laymen's language, this is a respiratory problem which causes a problem in breathing," Salinger said. "It is not uncommon ... in premature children."


Later Salinger told United Press International that while it is not uncommon "it is still a cause for concern."

He said the baby was "in an isolette, a device which attempts to create an environment like a mother's womb." The electrically powered machine helps breathing by regulating humidity, oxygen, and heat in what amounts to a super-designed incubator.

"The baby was taken out of the isolette for a brief period and X-rayed," Salinger reported. "He is also receiving medication, a type of which I do not have a description, to make him breathe easier."

Salinger said that in these cases "it takes approximately four days for this situation to develop in such a way that the doctors can make a final diagnosis."

"Is it on the danger list?" a reporter asked.

"I would not say that," Salinger replied. "Nobody that I talked to has."

Salinger said the baby presumably will be in Boston for at least four days, during which time Mrs. Kennedy will stay at Otis in the quarters refurbished for her in case of an emergency such as the one that developed Wednesday.

Latest Headlines


Follow Us