Meet Matty

Matthew Siravo was born on February 18, 1998, the son of Debra and Richard Siravo of Wakefield, Rhode Island. His three older brothers are; Joseph, Stephen and Christopher. Matthew was a healthy newborn child with no diagnosed medical conditions during most of his first year of life. Ten days before his first birthday, Matty suffered a gran mal seizure during the early morning of February 8, 1999.

Doctors at Hasbro Childrens Hospital performed a comprehensive evaluation and confirmed that Matty suffered an extensive seizure. There was no family history of seizures and this event changed our lives forever. Two weeks later, he suffered a second seizure and was taken to a local community hospital for treatment. The community hospital was unable to control the seizure and mistakenly caused an infiltration of medicine on the backside of his righthand, which required immediate plastic surgery and intensive care treatment at Hasbro Childrens Hospital. A skin graph from his groin was taken to cover the effected area which was approximately 5 cm round. Meanwhile, additional testing was required to identify the cause of seizures. It was later determined that the hippocampus of the left temporal lobe was shaped differently than his right side.

Matty continued to have seizures that were eventually controlled by medicine. As he grew in age, he required home intervention services comprised of speech, and physical therapy. At age 3, he was enrolled in Hazard Pre-School, which is a local inclusionary public school, which provided speech, physical therapy and occupational therapy. By age 4 and age 5, the staff observed considerable growth and development considering his special needs. He was one of the happiest children at the pre-school always smiling, listening to music and saying “hi” to everyone. He enlightened everyone around him and his spirituality amazed our congregation at Christ The King Church on the campus of the University of Rhode Island. Matty had difficulty focusing for great periods of time at home or in the classroom, however at church he could observe the entire liturgy while standing in the center aisle. He was captivated by the music and the spectacular choir as he listened intensely to the prayers by the clergy.

In May 2003, at the advice of doctors, Matthew underwent brain surgery at Boston Childrens Hospital. The surgery reportedly went well however, Matthew suffered a prolonged seizure while in recovery, which caused cardiac arrest and massive brain damage. Matthew died peacefully on May 11, 2003, Mother’s Day, surrounded by his family and while his favorite church music played by his bedside.

Click here to read the Mark Patinkin article