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Lathrop Couple Sues Modesto Hospital Over Newborn's Death

LATHROP (CBS13) -- A Lathrop couple amended their original lawsuit on Tuesday claiming a Modesto hospital contributed to the death of their newborn.

Amikar and Kori Ortega claimed that despite other babies testing positive around the same time for salmonella, their baby was not tested.

The family's original lawsuit was for the hospital's alleged negligence, but also the cover up of the outbreak. As of Tuesday the couple has amended their complaint requesting punitive damages.

David Anderson, the couple's attorney, said despite symptoms of salmonella, and two other cases in the same unit, they never tested Lucas for the bacterial infection. Lucas died of a digestive illness called necrotizing enterocolitis.

Anderson alleged the hospital purposely looked the other way to avoid confirming an outbreak.

The Ortega's had their son Lucas for 43 short days, where their premature baby died in the doctor's medical center's neonatal care unit.

"He was doing great, the doctor said that he was a miracle baby, and that he was going to be coming home soon" said Amikar Ortega.

Out of nowhere, Lucas became sick and died shortly after. Within two weeks of his 2012 death, two other babies tested positive for salmonella according to the lawsuit.

Amilkar said, they deserved to know salmonella was present despite privacy laws. Now they're left missing their son everyday.

Doctors Medical Center disputed the allegations in the lawsuit. Carin Sarkins, spokesperson emailed, "In 2012, the California Department of Public Health thoroughly reviewed our NIC-U and found zero deficiencies in care."

The medical center said it's committed to quality patient care and has no further comment about this lawsuit.

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