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Young School Girl Paralyzed After Delayed Medical Attention

We received a call from a 12 year old school girl’s family. This young girl reported having a headache to her teacher at her elementary school. The teacher told her to “put her head down on your desk”. Later that day, the child continued to complain of headaches while she was in the library. Once again, she was told to put her head down on the table. Later, in the early afternoon, the child continued to exhibit signs of a headache. The only different action that was taken was that the teacher pulled her desk next to the teacher’s desk and had her put her head down in the front of the room. At approximately 2:00 p.m. the girl’s face went numb and the school’s teacher finally had the girl report to the office. The office contacted the young girl’s parents and asked the father to come pick up the child. At this point, the young girl began convulsing and vomiting. An ambulance still had not been called. Ultimately it was felt that the child was suffering a stroke. During her 3 week admission to the hospital, it was confirmed that the she had suffered a ruptured aneurism. She is now paralyzed on one side of her body. After substantial physical therapy and rehabilitation, she has regained some movement on her left side. However she cannot use her left arm, her left hand or her left foot. There are several sources of controversy in this case. The first one has to do with whether or not earlier intervention would have resulted in therapy and/or treatment that would have lessened the complications resulting from the ruptured aneurism. Additionally, as this scenario occured in a public school, there will be the question of sovereign immunity and the issue of whether or not the teacher, librarian and office staff were using discretion or whether there was a law, rule, regulation, etc. that was violated (ministerial decision).
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