A Kindercare location in Ohio is at the center of a lawsuit alleging wrongful death after an infant died.
An Ohio daycare is under fire in a new wrongful death lawsuit after the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services discovered the Kindercare Learning Center in Riverside “had multiple serious compliance issues after an infant, who was being cared for, died after being taken to the hospital last fall.” The child, Elijah Neria, died on October 16, 2020, shortly after his mother “took him to the hospital when she picked him up from the childcare center.”
How did the infant die? Well, according to the lawsuit, Elijah’s death “was caused after all the defendants exhibited a reckless disregard for the safety of decedent.” In the weeks following the tragic incident, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services inspected the Kindercare location and learned staff members failed to contact the infant’s parent when he “was not feeling well while in the care of the program.” The inspection report read:
“The infant vomited, refused his second bottle, did not engage in activities, was unable to hold the head in an upright position, and was held at least one hour prior to parent pick up…When the parent arrived to pick up the infant from the program, the parent was informed that the infant child had been ill throughout the day. The parent took the infant to the emergency room where the infant died later that evening.”
The inspection further stated it found “that a Child Care Staff Member had abused, endangered, or neglected a child.” The state agency instructed the daycare to “terminate that employee as a result of the serious compliance violation.”
From there, the Riverside police department launched an investigation into the child’s death. However, earlier this year, officers said “there was no negligence on the part of employees at the daycare.” The police report added, “There were no charges that could be filed against anyone.”
It turns out, the infant’s death was caused by “myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart muscle, according to his death certificate.” The condition is typically caused by “viral or bacterial infections and medical conditions that damage the heart and cause inflammation,” according to the National Institutes of Health.
Despite the police report, Elijah’s family is seeking compensatory damages against the daycare “in an amount that will fully and fairly compensate the decedent’s next of kin and the decedent’s estate for punitive damages and attorney’s fees.”
It’s important to note that, since Elijah’s death, the Kindercare location has received two more complaints that were filed with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Inspections were conducted as a result of both complaints that discovered several compliance issues.