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Infant found in cardiac arrest at family center dies

June 18, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies on Thursday were investigating the death of a 5-month-old who police say died Wednesday afternoon at Washington County Hospital after being found in cardiac arrest at the Citicorp Family Center.

The child's death was being investigated because it was an unattended death, which means the deceased was not under the care of a doctor at the time of death, and unattended deaths are always investigated, Sheriff's Department Maj. Sam Billotti said Thursday morning.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said there was no observable cause of death, and it would conduct further testing, deputies said in a news release.

Billotti did not know what further testing would be done, he said Thursday afternoon. The medical examiner said it could take as long as 60 days to get results, Billotti said.

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Witnesses and emergency medical workers were interviewed Thursday.

"We are deeply saddened and our hearts go out to our employee and her family, and to everyone who has been touched by this," Citi spokeswoman Janis Tarter said in a prepared statement. "The safety and well being of the children at the center is the top priority of everyone at the center, and we are working with Bright Horizons and all concerned to understand what has occurred."

Bright Horizons, the company that manages the family center and is responsible for operations there, released a statement through spokeswoman Ilene Hoffer Serpa.

"We are all mourning the passing of a young child from the center," the statement says. "The child became unresponsive from unknown causes and received immediate medical attention at the center before being transported to the hospital.

"We learned late Wednesday that he did not recover," the statement says. "We are a family at this center and we are heartbroken over the loss. Our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers are with his family as they begin to cope with this tragedy."

Emergency Medical Services workers arrived at the family center at about 3 p.m. and took the infant to Washington County Hospital, Billotti said in a news release.

Caregivers at the family center said the infant was acting normally before he was discovered lying on his stomach and not breathing, Billotti said. The caregivers then called 911, he said.

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