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Mercy Hospital Hit with Wrongful Death Suit After 9-Month-Old Child Dies

— January 10, 2019

Mercy Hospital is at the center of a new lawsuit that claims a doctor’s misdiagnosis resulted in the death of a 9-month-old boy.

Mercy Hospital is at the center of a new lawsuit that claims a doctor’s misdiagnosis resulted in the death of a 9-month-old boy. The suit was filed by the boy’s parents, Melanie and Sam Blair, on December 20, 2018. Their son, Charlie, died back on February 23.

According to the suit, Mr. and Mrs. Blair took their son to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital on February 5, 2018, when they “noticed decreased appetite, lethargy, ear pain, fever and signs of dehydration.” At the time, he was diagnosed with adenovirus. The doctors gave him Tamiflu and pain medicine and sent him home. However, on February 8, the Blairs returned to the emergency room with Charlie. According to the suit, Charlie had a “rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, fever, vomiting, and dehydration.”

Instead of running additional tests to find the cause of the child’s problems, the hospital continued to “treat Charlie as if he had a benign viral condition” and discharged him on February 10. Unfortunately, the child suffered a stroke the next day and was “taken by ambulance to Cox Hospital before being transported to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.” Shortly after arriving at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Charlie was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. By the time he was correctly diagnosed, though, it was too late. Charlie eventually died “from brain injuries associated with the bacterial meningitis and the strokes” on February 23.

Streptococcus pneumoniae, a causative bacteria of meningitis
Streptococcus pneumoniae, a causative bacteria of meningitis; image courtesy of Manu5 via Wikimedia Commons,

In the suit, Charlie’s parents argue that the injuries that led to his death “were the direct and proximate result of the carelessness, faults, and omissions of Mercy.” It states:

“Had good, safe and timely medical choices been made, as the standards of medical care require, Charles Blair would not have suffered the progression of the meningitis that led to the catastrophic brain strokes and his death.”

Though the couple is seeking actual and compensatory damages, Roger Johnson, the attorney representing Melanie and Sam said the decision to file the suit is “more about holding Mercy accountable than getting money.” He added, “What they’re really interested in is this not happening to other folks.”

Johnson expects the case to go to trial sometime in 2020 and said it’s normal for cases like this one to take about 18 months to “work their way through the court system.” He added that the court proceedings will likely be “difficult for the Blairs, especially when they are forced to describe what happened during depositions.” He said, “It takes a level of courage to bring a lawsuit and go through the emotional journey that the Blairs are going to go through.”

The defendants in the suit include Dr. Amr Nabaah, Mercy Hospital Springfield, and Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities.” In a statement, Mercy Hospital said:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Blair family. Mercy providers were heartbroken to learn of this child’s passing after discharge from the hospital. Mercy received the petition just recently and is reviewing the case.”


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