Kyle Barnett Jun. 23, 2014, 5:37pm


NEW ORLEANS – A couple are suing a New Orleans hospital over the death of their infant daughter who allegedly died due to a fungal infection she contracted from a set of sheets.

John and Tina Scanlon, individually and on behalf of their decreased minor child, filed suit against Children’s Hospital, Continental Casualty Co., TLC Services Inc., Lafayette Insurance Co., Aramark Management Services Limited Partnership, Glenn Cobb and their insurer in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on May 15.

The Scanlons claims their daughter Caroline was born premature at East Jefferson Parish Hospital, but was discharged within a week of delivery after putting on weight and developing normally.

The plaintiffs allege that on Aug. 1, 2008, she was taken to Children’s Hospital suffering from an electrolyte imbalance due to hyperadrenalism–a non-fatal condition.

On Aug. 2, 2008, the Scanlons assert their daughter was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and to the floor afterward.  On Aug. 5 she was transferred back to PICU and her condition rapidly deteriorated thereafter, according to the suit.

On Aug. 12, 2008, the plaintiffs claim their daughter suffered respiratory arrest and showed signs of severe brain damage and was pronounced dead the following day.

An autopsy report purportedly revealed that Caroline had died of a fungal infection, namely mucormycosis, in her brain, the suit states.

The hospital officials allegedly made the statement that there was no way that Caroline could have caught the disease from either East Jefferson Parish Hospital, where she was born, or Children’s Hospital, where she died, as both were sterile environments.

However, shortly after Caroline’s death the Scanlons’ claim Children’s Hospital found that several other children had been infected at their facility by the mucormycosis fungus around the same time period.

Following their daughter’s death the Scanlons allege that they have thrown themselves into charity organization for the hospital and raised funds and collected toy donations for the hospital, and at no time were they alerted to an ongoing investigation Children’s Hospital was undertaking into their linen provider concerning the fungal outbreak.

The plaintiffs allege that they thought Caroline had died due exposure in their household and the idea that their daughter’s death had occurred due to any negligence on behalf of the hospital did not occur to them until FOX8Live.com published a news article concerning the investigation into the allegedly infected sheets on April 15, over five-and-a-half years after her death.

The Scanlons allege that Children’s Hospital and Aramark had a duty to ensure the linens provided for their daughter and other patients at Children’s Hospital were free from contaminants.

The defendants are accused of:

Failing to inform the plaintiff’s that Caroline’s death was due to contract at Children’s Hospital;

Improperly storing linens that were contaminated by the fungus;

Failing to properly transport the linens throughout the hospital;

Failing to properly train and supervise its staff;

Failing to require TLC wrap linens or insure linens were free of potentially fatal contamination;

Spoliation of evidence; and

Knowing of an outbreak of the mucormycosis fungus resulting in severe injury of death the occurred in the same time frame and failing to notify the plaintiffs of their rights.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought by the plaintiff for negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death and survival benefits.

The Scanlons are represented by Dr. Joseph A. Kott of New Orleans-based Herman, Herman & Katz LLC.

The case has been assigned to Division M Judge Paulette R. Irons.

Case no. 2014-04849.

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