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Parents of Conn. cancer patient file lawsuit over BLS ambulance transport

The lawsuit claims the Nuvance ambulance EMTs were not trained nor capable of providing proper care, treatment and monitoring


A Nuvance Health ambulance.

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By Ed Stannard
Hartford Courant

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. — A 13-year-old Connecticut boy suffering from leukemia and a host of other illnesses died after he suffered cardiac arrest in an ambulance that was not equipped to care for him, a lawsuit filed by his parents claims.

That was one of the missteps David Hale and Krystina Bilko Hale claim led to the death of Logan Hale of Ridgefield on Dec. 30, 2021. Their lawsuit names Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where he was being treated for his cancer, Danbury Hospital, Nuvance Health, Nuvance Health Ambulance, Dr. Morgan Pines, Dr. Beth Natt, Dr. Craig Tenenbaum and Lauren Smith, a physician assistant.

The large number of defendants represent the complexity of the decisions that were made in the final days of Logan’s life, which were laid out in the lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Bridgeport.

According to his obituary, Logan was a football player and major fan of the Carolina Panthers. “From the moment he picked a football up as (a) 2-year-old, he never put it down,” the obituary states. “He loved his football team and all his coaches and was always ready with encouraging words for his teammates. When he was unable to play he would still attend practices and games to show his team support.”

Logan, an eighth-grader at East Ridge Middle School, also was a black belt in taekwondo, loved to skateboard and scooter, played basketball and lacrosse and acted in independent films and commercials.

Besides his parents, he leaves a brother, Ethan Hale.

According to the lawsuit, Logan woke up with abdominal pain on Dec. 25, 2021, the day before his 13th birthday. His parents called Pines, the on-call physician at Memorial Sloan, who determined Logan had an inflammation of the small intestine and prescribed Tylenol. He determined Logan did not need to come to the hospital.

Later, Logan’s condition worsened and he was taken to Danbury Hospital with shortness of breath, rapid and shallow breathing, hypoxia, cyanosis, abnormal and rapid heartbeat and fever, the suit states. It was determined he had a lower-than-normal number of white and red blood cells. Tenenbaum diagnosed neutropenic fever and sepsis, the suit states.

Tenenbaum then sought a consultation with Natt, according to the lawsuit, who directed Smith to do so. Smith found a number of symptoms, including fever, spots on his skin, shortness of breath, sepsis, chills, rigors, worsening tachycardia and blood pressure between 180 and 190, the suit states.

The doctors then made a plan to transport Logan to Memorial Sloan but were told only basic life support ambulances were available, according to the complaint.

“The defendants … were aware that (Logan’s) condition had deteriorated since his arrival at the defendant Danbury Hospital, that he was not stable for transport to the defendant MSK, that a (basic life support) ambulance did not have proper and effective monitoring equipment, and the EMT’s operating the Nuvance ambulance were not trained nor capable of providing proper care, treatment, and monitoring nor effective airway management and intubations,” the lawsuit states.

It continues that the defendants were aware that transporting Logan “put him at risk for further deterioration and death,” the suit states.

Logan was put in the Nuvance ambulance, staffed by two EMTs, but on the way he suffered a cardiac arrest, according to the complaint, stopped breathing and became unconscious. The EMTs made multiple attempts to intubate Logan, it states.

Logan was transferred to an Empress ambulance and taken to White Plains Hospital, which was closer than Memorial Sloan, according to the suit. He was unresponsive on arrival, so he was taken to the pediatric intensive care unit at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.

There, Logan was found to be “status post cardiac arrest, with multiple organ dysfunction, and encephalopathic with no eye movement … in an immunocompromised state and was diagnosed with severe sepsis with septic shock,” the suit states.

An abdominal CT scan found an inflammation of Logan’s intestine. A CT scan of the brain found him to be brain dead with “hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and cerebral edema,” the suit states.

His parents decided to discontinue life support on Dec. 30 , “five days after Logan’s 13th birthday,” according to the lawsuit.

The Hales are accusing the defendants of negligence in the decisions that led to Logan’s death and in permitting him to be transferred from Danbury Hospital to Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

Nuvance Health and Memorial Sloan-Kettering did not respond to requests for comment on this story. Danbury Hospital is part of Nuvance Health .

The Hales are represented by Patrick Filan of Fairfield .

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