Springfield Parents Claim In Lawsuit That Mercy’s Misdiagnosis Led To Baby’s Death

A Springfield couple is suing Mercy Hospital, claiming a doctor’s misdiagnosis led to the death of their 9-month-old son.

Melanie and Sam Blair filed the wrongful death lawsuit Dec. 20 in state court after the Feb. 23 death of their son, Charlie.

In the lawsuit, the Blairs say they took Charlie to Mercy’s emergency room on Feb. 5 after they noticed decreased appetite, lethargy, ear pain, fever and signs of dehydration. He was diagnosed with a common adenovirus and given pain medicine and Tamiflu.

On Feb. 8, Charlie was brought back to Mercy’s emergency room with a rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, fever, vomiting and dehydration, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Mercy continued to treat Charlie as if he had a benign viral condition and didn’t perform the necessary tests to find the real cause of the problems.

Charlie was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 10.

On Feb. 11, the lawsuit says Charlie had a stroke and was taken by ambulance to Cox Hospital before being transported to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

The lawsuit says doctors in St. Louis made the correct diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, but it was too late, and Charlie died from brain injuries associated with the bacterial meningitis and the strokes.

The lawsuit claims the injuries that led to Charlie’s death “were the direct and proximate result of the carelessness, faults and omissions” of Mercy.

“Had good, safe and timely medical choices been made, as the standards of medical care require, Charles Blair would not have suffered the progression of the meningitis that led to the catastrophic brain strokes and his death,” the lawsuit says.

The Blairs are asking the court to award them “actual and compensatory damages in a sum that is fair and reasonable.”

Roger Johnson, a Joplin attorney representing the Blairs, said the lawsuit is more about holding Mercy accountable than getting money.

“What they’re really interested in is this not happening to other folks,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it typically takes about 18 months for cases like this to work their way through the court system. He said it will likely be set for trial sometime in 2020.

Johnson said the court process will be difficult for the Blairs, especially when they are forced to describe what happened during depositions.

“It takes a level of courage to bring a lawsuit and go through the emotional journey that the Blairs are going to go through,” Johnson said.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities, Mercy Hospital Springfield and Dr. Amr Nabaah.

Mercy released the following statement about the lawsuit:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Blair family. Mercy providers were heartbroken to learn of this child’s passing after discharge from the hospital. Mercy received the petition just recently and is reviewing the case.”

This article was originally published on Springfield News-Leader on 10th January 2019.