Coroner investigates S.C. teen’s death after EMS transport
Document in the ongoing special victims unit investigation alleges the teen with autism was given 10 milligrams of Versed to “shut him up”
By Simone Jasper
The Charlotte Observer
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. — A teen with autism died after he was given twice the normal dose of medicine to “shut him up,” officials told news outlets in South Carolina.
Now, more than a month after the 16-year-old boy’s death, the Greenville County Coroner’s Office said it continues to seek clues.
The case dates to April 28, when Skyler Desmond Blizzard was in the hospital with pneumonia. Blizzard — who had been diagnosed with autism — was released to a center that cares for people with the disability, the coroner’s office said in a report obtained by WHNS.
But the next day, the teen reportedly experienced shortness of breath, and EMS took him to a nearby medical center.
“Blizzard arrived at Prisma Greenville Memorial Hospital in cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead a short time after” he got to the emergency room, the coroner’s office wrote June 14 in a news release.
The day after the teen’s death, the EMS agency contacted the coroner’s office. A relative reported that a paramedic intentionally gave Blizzard more medicine than normal to “shut him up,” according to a document officials shared with WYFF.
But “the coroner’s office interviewed another person involved in the investigation, and he reportedly told them the paramedic in question ‘knew his relative had told them he killed that kid’ and ‘that wasn’t true,’” WHNS reported.
The paramedic was accused of giving the teen 10 milligrams of Versed, instead of the usual 5 milligrams. Versed, also known as Midazolam, is a drug used to make children drowsy and help them relax before medical procedures. But the medication can lead patients to experience “serious or life-threatening breathing problems,” the National Library of Medicine says.
In addition to autism, Blizzard had “AAA Syndrome,” which impacts the function of the esophagus, officials told WYFF.
Though the coroner’s office conducted an autopsy May 1, it said “the cause and manner of death remain pending further investigation.”
In response to a request for additional information about the case, the S.C. Law Enforcement Division (SLED) told McClatchy News in an email that its Special Victims Unit was called to investigate the Greenville County death of a teen on April 30.
Due to the ongoing investigation, McClatchy News isn’t naming the care facility or the EMS agency.