The parents of an 8-year-old boy who has had severe brain damage for years have sued a Chicago hospital, claiming that doctors falsely pronounced their son dead and kept him off his ventilator for hours even though relatives insisted that the boy's eyes and body were still moving.
The lawsuit, filed this week by Sheena Lane and Pink Dorsey on behalf of their son, Jaylen Dorsey, accuses Mercy Hospital and Medical Center of negligence and claims that nearly five hours passed before doctors agreed to perform a cardiac ultrasound, which showed that the boy's heart was still beating.
"You didn't have to be a doctor to see that the heart was pumping blood," the boy's father, Pink Dorsey, told reporters on Friday at a news conference, according to Associated Press.
Jayden, who has had severe brain damage since age of 2, has been bedridden and on a ventilator, was found unresponsive by his mother on Feb. 18. He has been taken to Mercy Hospital and doctors there pronounced the 8-year-old boy dead.
His family said, Jaylen's eyes continued to flick open, but hospital staff had told them that the movements were the caused by the lingering effects of the medicine.
"We're not doctors, so we just went along with what they told us," Dorsey said.
They said that family members had started to plan a funeral for Jaylen, but when other relatives arrived at the hospital they were shocked to see Jaylen's eyes still opening. The lawsuit claims that the family had to demand that hospital staff conduct more tests and that a cardiac ultrasound finally showed the boy's heart was beating.
Hospital officials deny the allegations and said in a written statement that the boy arrived at the hospital after he experienced a full cardiac arrest for 25 minutes. The hospital said that doctors had treated him for "an extended period of time" before declaring him dead, according to AP.
"Despite extensive resuscitative efforts, Jaylen did not immediately regain a pulse and no heart activity was noted for several hours," the hospital wrote. "... While this is a very rare occurrence, extensive resuscitation efforts, medication and young age can result in a patient's heart function returning spontaneously. We hope for continued strength for Jaylen."
Jayden's parents are seeking $200,000 in damages. They are claiming that they suffered hours of "severe emotional distress" and they claim that they also worry that the hours he was off his respirator while at the hospital may have worsened his condition.