Haverhill School Superintendent James F. Scully was admitted yesterday to Holy Family Hospital, Methuen, after his breathing became labored and his blood pressure “went off the wall.”
Scully, 68, who had quadruple bypass surgery in 2007, was already at the hospital accompanying his son who was there receiving tests. The superintendent, when contacted by WHAV this morning, said he fell ill around noon, Wednesday.
“While sitting there, I started feeling awful myself. I was getting sicker and sicker. My breathing was labored and my blood pressure had gone off the wall. I had severe cardiac symptoms, but there was no chest pain,” Scully said.
Hospital physicians admitted Scully and expect to keep him in the hospital for one or two days. No cardiac problems were found, he said, but physicians want him to remain as a precaution.
Scully, whose contract as superintendent is up for renewal at the end of the school year, had also recently been the target of complaint by the Haverhill Hispanic Coalition following his firing of District Supervisor of English Learner Education Graciella Trilla. Scully had initially agreed to address a parents’ meeting last night in City Hall, but withdrew when he said he believed the focus would be on Trilla. “On advice of legal counsel for the Haverhill Public Schools I have been instructed that I should not participate in discussion, which will primarily focus on personnel matters within the school department,” he told parents Tuesday.
Scully’s son, James F. Scully Jr., had become ill earlier this week and was scheduled for tests at Holy Family. It is now believed the younger Scully, a senior at Boston College law school and a graduate of the U.S. Naval academy, suffered an allergic reaction.
Scully: Health Issue A Warning to Others
The superintendent said his reason for revealing his health issues is to send a warning to others. In 2007, he explained, he used to run five miles every day and believed he was in great health. Then, while Consentino School principal, he tried to break up a fight between two students.
“They started fighting and I tried separating them. My face got blue and I couldn’t breathe. (Then-Assistant Principal) Mary Malone and (then-secretary) Karen Thornell insisted I go to the hospital. I was in Boston the next day or so, and shortly thereafter had quadruple bypass surgery. I wanted people to know, even though I used to run five miles a day and do everything to be healthy, I was not eating right.”
The incident inspired his daughter, Abigail Hart Scully, to decide against attending law school and enter the medical profession. She attended Holy Cross, Harvard and Tufts Medical School and is now a second resident at Tufts New England Medical Center, Scully said.