Parents file wrongful death suit against WVU

By John O'Brien | Dec 1, 2006

MORGANTOWN - The parents of an infant born at West Virginia University Hospitals are suing the school's board of governors and WVU Hospitals over its death.

Marlena and Jose Barahona, acting as the co-administrators of the Estate of Lucas Barahona, filed the lawsuit Nov. 20 in Monongalia Circuit Court.

They say the staff there deviated from the applicable standards of care, causing Lucas' death shortly after his birth.

Lucas was born eight weeks prematurely on Oct. 2, 2005, and was transferred to Winchester Memorial Hospital in Virginia almost a month later, the suit says.

It adds that when he was circumcised on Nov. 26, 2005, a non-incarcerated inguinal hernia was discovered, requiring he be transported back to WVUH for repair.

"At no time prior to the hernia repair surgery did any physician, nurse, employee, agent and/or representative of Defendants inform Plaintiffs that Lucas would be administered a caudal epidural, nor did any (staff member) explain the risks associated with a caudal epidural and/or offer any alternatives," the complaint says.

"Upon administration of the caudal epidural, Lucas' heart rate and blood pressure began to decline and he ultimately arrested. Resuscitation efforts were carried out on Lucas for approximately two hours."

The suit says Lucas did of a brain injury sustained during resuscitation efforts a month after the surgery. It adds that the staff did not take into account his medical history when administering the caudal epidural and general endotracheal anesthesia.

The plaintiffs say Lucas' estate has suffered a loss of his services and sorrow, mental anguish and solace, as well as a loss of reasonable expected income, medical bills and funeral expenses and seek compensatory damages.

Morgantown attorney Kelly Reed is representing the plaintiffs.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number 06-C-762

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