Lawsuit: Children's Medical Center misdiagnosis led to boy's death

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 24 at 6:29 PM

DALLAS –– In a lawsuit filed Monday, the family of a six-year-old Dallas boy allege a Children's Medical Center doctor's misdiagnosis led to his death. 

Roberto Llanas Jr. was rushed to the hospital after colliding with a pole last May in John W. Carpenter Elementary School’s playground. The lawsuit, which alleges the boy was “writhing in pain” upon his arrival, says he was given an X-Ray, diagnosed with constipation and sent home.

Four hours later, his parents called for help again. 

“At this point, he was losing consciousness,” recalls father Roberto Llanas Sr. “At that point I got scared and called an ambulance.”

His son died en-route to the hospital. According to results from an autopsy, Lllanas Jr. died of a “lacerated left kidney” and internal “hemorrhage.” The suit names Children’s Emergency Room physician Dr. Abbie Leigh Smith, Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern.

All have denied gross negligence, said attorney Les Weisbrod, who is representing the family. In Texas, damages to be paid in a malpractice case are capped at $250,000.

“They don’t want to pay the $250,000 for the death of the child but are saying they would pay something significant lower for the death of a child,” Weisbrod said. “I think that’s terrible and I think the public needs to know about how these types of things happen and occur.” 

Spokespeople for Children’s Medical Center and UT Southwestern, where Smith is a faculty member, both declined to comment on the pending litigation. The suit accuses her of “willful and wanton negligence” that “was a direct and proximate cause of the injuries and damages” suffered by Llanas Jr. 

The physicians are accused of “misusing and administering” an enema, which, the suit says, led to the misdiagnosis. Llanas Jr. was also given a kidney, ureter and bladder X-Ray –– also known as a KUB –– that “masked Plaintiff’s symptoms of internal trauma.” 

Cristal Mendoza and Llanas Sr. say they filed the suit to hold the hospitals responsible for their son’s death. They said the monetary amount was not a motivator. 

“I trusted the doctor, what the doctor said,” Mendoza says. “I just want to make parents aware.”

Email jstjames@wfaa.com

 

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