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Family Claims Negligence After Boy Dies ... Lawsuit Ensues

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) - What was treated as just a simple case in flu ended up killing a 10-year-old boy, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

"I've been through a horrible tragedy and I just want to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody else," said Isaiah Bird's mother, Deborah Saeed Gay.

It was Dec. 23, 2014 when Isaiah started to feel ill. His father took him to the pediatrician but initial treatments weren't successful.

"Not only did (the pediatrician) send him to the emergency department but he called there and spoke with the treating emergency room physician and told the physician that Isaiah had failed these two treatments and he needed to be admitted," said Michael Kane, an attorney for Isaiah's family.

Isaiah Bird
Isaiah Bird (credit: CBS)

The lawsuit claims over the roughly 90 minutes Isaiah spent in the emergency room standard practices and procedures were not followed.

"He wasn't even seen by the doctor. That sticks out to me," said Gay. "They didn't monitor his vitals appropriately they didn't keep him like they should have, and they discharged him," Kane said. "It wasn't taken seriously by the Swedish Medical Center nursing staff and it wasn't taken seriously by the treating emergency room physician.

"About 40 minutes after they discharged him he was in a Walgreens picking up a prescription with his father. He literally pulls on his dad's arm and motions to his throat and collapses and goes into respiratory arrest. His father Troy immediately starts doing CPR on Isaiah," Kane said.

Littleton Police showed up and continued CPR. Isaiah had no pulse when he was loaded into an ambulance and taken back to Swedish hospital.

(credit: CBS)

The lawsuit claims the physician on call, who allegedly didn't even see Isaiah during the first visit, altered his medical records.

"She went back into the medical records and did an addendum after Isaiah was brought back to the ER after he went into arrest. It's certainly not standard; it's certainly not accepted, to go back in and do an addendum on a medical record and add information in in almost a cover-up type of fashion after the child was discharged and came back," Kane said.

Isaiah's parents were advised on Dec. 24, 2014 to take their boy off of life support.

"It took us by surprise that the very hospital he was born at… ultimately would end up taking his life," Gay said.

Swedish sent a statement to CBS 4 saying," Swedish Medical Center is aware of the lawsuit that was filed today, though we are surpised by many of the accusations. Our hearts go out to the family, it is never easy to lose a loved one and no doubt this is a particularly difficult time of year."

(credit: CBS)

"If they would have kept him there when his airway closed, when his airway went into arrest, they would have been able to immediately intubate him and immediately provide lifesaving support," Kane said.

The suit is filed in Arapaho County District Court, but because of a Colorado state law caps malpractice lawsuits like this one at $300,000 in damages.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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