Parents Sue Hospital After Son Mistakenly Pronounced Dead

A Chicago couple had a scare February when their young son was pronounced dead by the staff of a Chicago hospital.

It turned out, however, that the boy was still alive. On Wednesday, Sheena Lane and Pink Dorsey filed a $200,000 emotional distress lawsuit against Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

On February 18, Lane and Dorsey found their son, Jaylen Dorsey, lying unresponsive at their home. He was taken by ambulance to the Near South Side hospital where two doctors pronounced the boy dead at 9:52 a.m.

Hours after the boy’s supposed death, however, he began to show signs of life. According to the suit, the boy’s eye lids twitched, his nostrils flared, his body had spasms, and he was reportedly found to have a pulse and an irregular breathing pattern.

It wasn’t until four hours after the boy was pronounced dead that doctors performed a cardiac ultrasound and found that Jaylen was still alive. In their suit, Lane and Dorsey argue that the tests should’ve been carried out sooner. They say that they experienced extreme emotional distress as a result of the error.

Generally, the tort of infliction of emotional distress involves some kind of conduct that was so terrible that it causes serious emotional trauma. The claimants must show that there was extreme conduct that intentionally or recklessly caused them severe emotional distress.

Declaring someone dead before you’re completely sure about it is arguably “extreme conduct.” The doctors’ behavior could also be considered “reckless.” However, Lane and Dorsey will have to show that the doctors’ conduct fell far below the standard of care generally upheld in the profession.

Related Resources: