AP NEWS
Related topics

Little Wayne Gets Pauper’s Grave At End Of His Tragic Life

February 27, 1985

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ After spending $2 million on his insurmountable medical problems, the state buried 6-year-old Wayne Hayman in a pauper’s grave - mourned by doctors, nurses and social workers who were the closest thing he had to a family in his short, troubled life.

The child, a ward of the city’s Human Services Department, underwent 30 lifesaving operations before he was 3 and had no home outside of the intensive care unit at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia until he was 5.

Wayne suffered a heart attack Dec. 5, several days before his sixth birthday, and went into a coma soon afterward. He died Wednesday at a pediatric nursing home in Voorhees Township, N.J.

The boy was buried Tuesday without a headstone - the first time anyone realized there wasn’t one. His mourners made plans at the funeral to raise money for a marker.

Wayne, whose mother abandoned him at birth, had no family. His stay in intensive care, the longest in the hospital’s history, cost Pennsylvania taxpayers almost $2 million.

″Wayne’s death has been devastating for all of us,″ said Mary Donar, supervisor of the hospital’s intensive care unit and one of the mourners at the graveside. ″We put so much into his care, and he was such a great kid.″

The boy was born with Vater’s syndrome - a rare condition in which several body passages are blocked or malformed. After his operations, he breathed through a hole opened in his lower throat, received food through a tube to his stomach and eliminated into a bag attached to his intestines.

″It was not thought that he would survive,″ said Ms. Donar. ″Given his condition, he was sort of a small miracle.

″He was a joker. He really was. When he was hospitalized, he’d play tricks on the nurses,″ Ms. Donar said.

″He couldn’t speak because of his tracheotomy, but he could communicate through American Sign Language. He knew more than 300 signs.

In late 1983, he was placed in the home of foster mother Betty Lamar, who had agreed to give Wayne the almost constant care he needed.

″The last time he came to the hospital to visit,″ said Ms. Donar, ″he brought in a mat to show us how he’d learned to break-dance. He really could do a few steps, too. If you looked at Wayne and you didn’t see his breathing tube, he looked pretty much like any other kid.″

James Rasinksy, a city social worker and a pallbearer at the child’s welfare funeral, said, ″I’d like to think that all our work, and the hospital’s work, paid off - for at least the one last year when Wayne could live somewhat like a normal little boy.″

AP RADIO
Update hourly