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September 21, 2009

Josie's Story -- Q&A with the author

josie's storyThis is truly a parent's worst nightmare. In 2001, 18-month-old Josie King was taken to the nation's best hospital, Johns Hopkins, after she was severely scalded in the bathtub at home. A few weeks later, she was dead of complications from dehydration, due to a series of preventable medical errors.\

The Baltimore Sun chronicled Josie's plight -- and her mother's campaign to stomp out medical errors. Now the mother, Sorrel King, who still lives in Baltimore, has written her own account, "Josie's Story." Reporter Kelly Brewington interviewed King about the book and her crusade through the Josie King Foundation. It's interesting reading -- especially these days, when health care reform is dominating the news. Here's an excerpt:

Why did you decide to write this book? And can you explain the process you went through to do so.

I wrote it for the health care industry, to inspire them. I wrote it for a parent who lost a child. I wrote the book for my children. I wrote the book for the general public so it can be another tool in my toolbox to raise awareness on this issue that I don't think people quite get. The most important thread to me that I hope to get out to all these categories is the book is about loss. We are all going to suffer some kind of loss at some time in our lives - loss of a job, death, cancer, divorce. What do you do when something bad happens? I hope people learn to take it and learn how to make something good come out of it.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 10:07 AM | | Comments (4)


While I hate that this Mother has lost a child. When does she take responciblity for the child being placed in a tub of hot water. I as a mother of two always checked the temp of the water I was placing my child into. And now wants to sell a book. I'm sorry but I just don't get it anymore. Sounds to me there is more than just the hospital to blam. I surely cannot believe she would be trying to make money out of this horrible situation.

I am so sorry for the lost of this mothers child, but on the other hand I am a victim of scolding hot bath water when I was two years old. I have 2 and 3 degree burns on my feet. I would personally like to know how long this baby was in this bath tub. I know she was screaming her head off once she got into the water. I have been in this little girls place. There is something very weird about this story.


You're comment sounds especially ignorant without having all the facts. This mother did not place the child in the tub, Josie wandered off and turned the water on herself. She would have been fine if there hadn't been a faulty gauge on the hot water heater. There are many errors here, the least of which is the mothers.

To provide a little more background, here's how The Sun's two-part story described the scalding:
The night of the accident, Jan. 30, 2001, Sorrel bathed the children in a bathroom the family seldom used. Sorrel's mother, visiting from Richmond, had taken a bath there and the children were excited by the novelty. Before bedtime, the family watched cartoons in front of the fire. Josie played with a musical toy, dancing a silly dance that made her knees buckle. After a while, following [sister] Relly, she wandered upstairs.

Her screams sent Sorrel running up the steps. Josie was in the bathroom again, her washcloth and toy airplane in the tub, her pink pajamas soaked. She had turned on the water and climbed in, scalding more than half her body before scrambling out. Sorrel yelled for Tony to call 911, then ripped off the pajamas, wrapped Josie in a towel and waited anxiously for help.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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