Failure to Report Child Abuse Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Cincinnati, Ohio Personal Injury Attorney filing wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide following cases of a failure to report child abuse and hospital negligence
Following a case of child abuse that led to the tragic death of a child in Toledo, Ohio, The Lyon Firm has filed a lawsuit against a Toledo hospital and an attorney, both of whom allegedly failed to alert the proper authorities of the suspected abuse.
Promedica Health System, along with individual physicians and nurses, offered health care services, including emergency medical care and treatment to the young victim after she was admitted with severe bruising and injuries. According to plaintiffs, the hospital failed to address the child abuse properly. The hospital did not notify police or the appropriate child services agency.
An attorney, involved in custody arrangements, has also been named as a defendant in the case, for allegedly failing to report suspected abuse, and returned the child to a dangerous home environment, where the eventual murder allegedly took place.
The defendants allegedly breached their duty by a failure to report child abuse or neglect. Plaintiffs claim they are each negligent per se and are strictly liable for all damages proximately related to the breach. The parties are just beginning discovery due to the delay in Motion practice and Covid-19.
Joe Lyon is an experienced Cincinnati, Ohio wrongful death lawyer reviewing hospital negligence and a failure to report child abuse cases nationwide.
Failure to Report Child Abuse Led to Eventual Murder
In early February 2018, the plaintiff was visiting his daughter and noticed abnormal bruises. On subsequent visits he also noticed additional bruising. The plaintiff then contacted an attorney (now a defendant in the case), to discuss his parental legal options related to his concern for child abuse and neglect.
Growing more concerned, the plaintiff filed a formal police report related to suspected child abuse. The police did not take any formal action but advised him to speak with his attorney. Following the legal consultation, the plaintiff took his daughter to the Emergency Department at Toledo’s Promedica.
The hospital examined the child for “alleged child abuse,” documenting bruising on the child’s forehead and thighs. But apparently no Promedica hospital doctors or staff reported the suspected child abuse to the County Police or Child Services. The child was not admitted to the hospital or placed in a safe environment pending an investigation. Rather, the child was discharged to return to the suspected dangerous home environment.
Days later, the girl was pronounced dead, due to cerebral edema as a result of child abuse. The mother’s boyfriend pled guilty to the murder.
Legal & Medical Negligence
Plaintiffs claim that had the defendants (hospital and attorney) notified the appropriate child services agency, the agency would have timely investigated the case and likely prevented the girl’s traumatic injuries and death. Had the defendants placed the child in a protective environment, the girl would not have been exposed to the dangerous environment and her traumatic injuries and death would have been prevented.
Both attorneys and medical professionals have an inherent responsibility to report potential abuse. The ethical commitment to families and children is recognized under Ohio law, and thus many individuals and professionals are mandated to report alleged child abuse and neglect.
Ohio law requires immediate reporting of known or suspected alleged child abuse and neglect for certain professionals. Per Ohio law regarding a failure to report child abuse or neglect, the statute states:
“No [attorney or health care professional] acting in an official or professional capacity and knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to suspect, that a child under eighteen years of age…has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the child shall fail to immediately report that knowledge or reasonable cause to suspect to the entity or persons specified in this division…[T]he person making the report shall make it to the public children services agency or a municipal or county peace officer in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred.”
The healthcare defendants named as part of the lawsuit each owed a duty of care to meet the applicable standard of care for a reasonable healthcare provider. The filed suit alleges that named individuals breached the standard of care by:
- Failing to properly diagnose child abuse
- Failing to adequately report known or suspected child abuse to the proper child services agency or public services department
- Failing to admit or otherwise provide a safe environment for the child while the appropriate agency investigated the suspected abuse
- Discharging the child knowing the child was being returned to an environment suspected of child abuse
The Lyon Firm has experience engaging hospitals and other entities in negligence claims that lead to injury or death. Call Joe Lyon at (800) 513-2403 for a free and confidential case review.