Local doctors deny error in child death | AspenTimes.com

Local doctors deny error in child death

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Three local doctors faced with a malpractice suit in the death of a 1-year-old child at Aspen Valley Hospital are denying any wrongdoing.

Olivia Hill, 1, died at Aspen Valley Hospital on Jan. 19, 2006 of a respiratory infection, pneumonia caused by bacterial infection and cardiac arrest, according to court papers.

The child’s parents, JoAnn Lamson and Dean Hill, of Aspen, filed a lawsuit claiming that physicians at Aspen Valley Hospital ” Catherine Bernard, Harvey Fahy and William Mitchell ” as well as radiologist Janice Brenneman failed to correctly review x-rays and detect or treat the child’s severe respiratory condition.

Lamson and Hill’s attorney, William Trine of Boulder, said his firm would seek the maximum repayment of $300,000 for damages and pain and suffering to the couple.

“With proper and adequate treatment, it is more probable than not that Olivia Hill would have survived,” attorneys for Lamson and Hill wrote in the complaint filed with the court.

If the child had been diagnosed in a timely manner, fitted with an oxygen mask, and fed fluids and antibiotics for infections, she would have pulled through, the attorneys argued.

Each doctor listed in the suit faces separate allegations.

Bernard, according to allegations in court documents, failed to review x-rays or detect evidence of pneumonia.

Brenneman, a Denver radiologist who was sent the child’s x-rays, said there was “no apparent abnormality” in the films, which attorneys claim clearly showed pneumonia in both lungs, according to the complaint.

Fahy, according to allegations in the complaint, told the child’s father to give the child a cool bath and ice pops at 2:25 a.m. the night before the child died, effectively delaying treatment some 12 to 13 hours.

Mitchell allegedly evaluated the child in the morning and evening before her death and also failed to detect the seriousness of her condition.

A nurse found the child laying quietly and not breathing on the morning of Jan. 19, 2006.

Separate defense attorneys for each of the doctors denied the allegations in papers filed with the courts in early May.

The matter will go to a jury trial.

Trine said attorneys would set a trial date in coming days, likely some time in the spring of 2009.