Couple sues over child's death

September 26, 1997


Staff Writer

A Hagerstown couple has sued Washington County Hospital, alleging the hospital failed to property diagnose their son, who died of injuries following a bicycle accident, according to Washington County Circuit Court records.

Brian L. Burnett was riding his bike Aug. 16, 1992, when the front wheel came off, causing him to fall on the handle bars, the suit said.

Burnett, 16, of 716 Westwood St., was taken to the hospital's emergency room, where medical officials were told that the boy was "doubled over in pain" and had vomited before arriving, according to allegations in the suit filed by Philip and Nancy Burnett.


The suit alleges that medical personnel were required to complete a number of X-rays, scans and other procedures to determine if Burnett suffered a perforated bowel.

Doctors "did nothing more than an X-ray and routine lab work" and Burnett was discharged with a prescription for pain medication and told that he would be fine, the suit alleged.

On Aug. 17, 1992, Burnett lost consciousness and was pronounced dead on arrival after being returned to the hospital by ambulance, the suit said. An autopsy revealed that Burnett had a perforated bowel, the suit said.

Burnett could have enjoyed a normal life if "applicable standards of care" had been used, but instead the boy "suffered unending physical pain, emotional anguish, fear and anxiety over his condition which ultimately culminated in his tragic and untimely death," the suit alleged.

The Burnett's are not seeking a specified amount of damages in the suit.

In addition to the hospital, the other defendants named in the suit are doctors Jayantilal Kadiwar and Katherine Reihard and Emergency Medical Services Associates, the firm contracted to provide medical service in the hospital's emergency room, according to court records.

Hospital spokesman John Costopoulos said the hospital has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

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