Family sues hospital in son’s death
The lawsuit claims he collapsed 40 minutes after being discharged.
The family of a 10-yearold boy who collapsed and went into fatal respiratory arrest purportedly 40 minutes after being discharged from Swedish Medical Center’s emergency department two years ago has sued the hospital, calling the case an “unspeakable tragedy” resulting from mistakes at the hospital.
The wrongful-death lawsuit, filed Thursday in Arapahoe County District Court, says a doctor and nurse at Swedish did not properly evaluate and treat Isaiah Bird, allowing a treatable ailment to become deadly.
Lawyers from Isaiah’s family say an autopsy showed the boy had not only influenza, but also pneumonia and tracheitis, an infection of the upper airway.
“Isaiah’s respiratory illness was very common in Colorado, and was very treatable. Isaiah’s pediatrician sent him to the ER because he could not breathe and needed to be admitted to the hospital. Instead, the ER staff discharged him without any attempt at a proper diagnosis,” David Woodruff, one of the attorneys representing Isaiah’s parents, said in a written statement.
Swedish released a statement about the lawsuit.
“Swedish Medical Center is aware of the lawsuit that was filed, though we are surprised by many of the accusations,” the hospital said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to the family, it is never easy to lose a loved one and no doubt this is a particularly difficult time of year.”
Isaiah’s father took him to a pediatrician Dec. 23, 2014, because the boy was complaining of breathing difficulty and had a worsening cough.
The doctor performed a rapid flu test, the lawsuit says, showing Isaiah had influenza A.
When the fifth-grader did not respond to breathing treatments, the pediatrician told his father to take Isaiah to an emergency room for evaluation and possibly hospitalization, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Isaiah’s father immediately took his son to the Swedish emergency room where the boy was evaluated by a registered nurse who allegedly failed to recognize the seriousness of his condition. The lawsuit also alleges the physician assigned to the case never evaluated the boy and instead helped or aided in deciding to give him some flu medication.
After being discharged, Isaiah and his father went to a Walgreens in Littleton to fill the boy’s prescriptions. About 40 minutes after they left Swedish, the lawsuit says, Isaiah, still in his hospital gown, stopped breathing.
The boy was revived and returned to Swedish, but by then, according to the lawsuit, he had suffered catastrophic, irreversible brain damage because of a lack of oxygen.
The boy was taken off life support on Christmas Eve, according to the filing.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for Isaiah’s parents — who are no longer married — including for grief, loss of companionship, impairment of quality of life, and other pain and suffering.