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Ascension St. Vincent Sued Over Boy's Death

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Suit claims the health system was slow to treat the 8-year-old's encephalitis

A federal lawsuit has been filed against Ascension-St. Vincent in the death of an eight-year-old boy. WNIN’s John Gibson reports:

Evansville attorneys George Barnett and Neil Chapman filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of the parents of Marco Gabriel.

The suit says the 8-year-old’s parents took him to Ascension-St. Vincent Urgent Care – Epworth Crossing on September 18th, with a severe headache, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever.

The attorneys say the Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner advised the family to go straight to the Emergency Department for further evaluation, including an MRI.

But the suit says the two facilities did not communicate with each other and when they arrived at Ascension-St. Vincent’s emergency room, a nurse practitioner conducted none of the recommended lab or blood tests or the MRI.

Instead, the suit says the practitioner instructed the parents to see a pediatrician, told them to alternate ibuprofen and Tylenol for the headache, and discharged Marco.

The boy’s parents are primarily Spanish speaking, and the suit says an interpreter was not provided. The suit also claims the hospital incorrectly marked the boy as uninsured.

Two days later, Marco was returned to the Emergency Room with the same symptoms, plus confusion, and tests revealed acute multifocal encephalitis.

Marco was started on intravenous antiviral and antibiotic medications and sent to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, but he died on September 22nd.

Attorney Barnett says the boy’s death was preventable, describing the disease as “easily recognized, treated with steroids, and with a low mortality rate.”

Ascension-St. Vincent says it cannot comment on pending litigation.