Boy Dies After Sent Home Twice, Grieving Parents Claim
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) – Kaiser did not order the proper tests for a Down’s Syndrome boy with strep throat and discharged him from the emergency room, and he got so dehydrated and malnourished he died, his parents claim in the District of Columbia Superior Court.
Jacinta Onyenagada and Franks Nnani sued Children’s National Medical Center (CNMC), Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group PC and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States on March 23 on behalf of their late son, A.N., who was four years old when he died.
Roughly six weeks before he started having throat problems, A.N. had ear surgery and was taking five Floxin antibiotic drops in his ears twice a day. He was also taking the diuretic drug Diamox 0.8mgs three times a day, according to the complaint.
In mid April 2014, his parents say, they took him to CNMC because he had vomited five times the last night and had been suffering from cough, nasal congestion, and upper respiratory symptoms for a week.
Though he had a 101 degree fever, heart rate of 138, no urine output, and a hazy chest x-ray, the treating physicians diagnosed him with a likely upper respiratory infection and discharged him without ordering any further lab tests, according to the complaint.
Less than twelve hours later A.N.’s condition worsened and his parents brought him back to the same emergency room, where once again none of the doctors examined his throat. Despite his constant vomiting and other symptoms of severe dehydration, the nurse recorded his dehydration score at zero, the complaint states.
Though his heart rate and respiratory rate were high and his fever had climbed to 103 degrees despite two doses of ibuprofen, his parents say, the hospital again discharged him without doing any tests. He was so sick they had to carry him to the car, according to the complaint.
At a follow up appointment with his primary care doctor, Dr. Rennie Thomas, cultures taken from A.N.’s ear tested positive for streptococcus mitis and yeast, and a rapid strep test on his throat also came back positive. After taking blood samples, his doctor sent him home with instructions for his mom to give him oral antibiotics twice a day for an ear infection, according to the complaint.
When the blood work came back abnormal with low blood glucose and signs of significant dehydration and infection, his mother says, Dr. Thomas told her to take him immediately to the emergency room and faxed over his lab results.
Though the hospital received all of A.N.’s paperwork, he was not personally examined by an attending emergency room doctor until four hours later, when he “became unresponsive, limp, and was determined to have no pulse,” the complaint states.
Nor did anyone order an IV dose of glucose until after he coded though his blood glucose was a “critical” value of less than 20 milligrams per deciliter, according to the complaint.
But it was too little, too late, his parents say: their son was pronounced dead at 9:47 that evening – two days after they first brought him to the emergency room.
In a later review, a Dr. Priya Gopwani wrote in his notes that the hospital was never informed that A.N. was coming via his primary care doctor’s referral and claimed that they had never received his test results, according to the complaint.
His parents say this is patently false, because Dr. Thomas faxed all of the pertinent information to them before they arrived at the ER.
As a result of Kaiser’s ineptitude, his parents say, their son suffered in pain for days before he ultimately died.
They seek $10 million for wrongful death and medical negligence.
They are represented by Karen Evans with The Cochran Firm.