Suit against St. Elizabeth's refiled over 17-month-old's death

Ann Knef Jul. 7, 2008, 9:00am

A wrongful death lawsuit has been refiled against St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Belleville over a 17-month-old child's death in 2000.

Ronnika Watson claims her son Darrell Banks, Jr. was admitted to the hospital's emergency room at 12 a.m. on April 22, 2000, with symptoms of high fever, low blood pressure, lethargy, a spreading rash and other symptoms consistent with meningococcemia/septic shock, according to a suit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

She alleges that blood test results received at 2:20 a.m. showed that her son was suffering metabolic acidosis and kidney failure.

"Hospital and (Danuta) Pikul (M.D.) took no immediate actions to treat Banks for the meningococcemia/septic shock condition revealed by the blood results and other symptoms," the complaint states.

Watson claims that at 3:15 a.m. a nurse found her son unresponsive and not breathing.

"Hospital's and Pikul's attempts to revive Banks were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at 3:45 a.m. by Pikul," the complaint states. "An autopsy was performed by the St. Clair County Coroner's office at approximately 12:00 noon on April 22, 2000 and the cause of death was determined to be sepsis."

Seeking in excess of $50,000 in damages, Watson is represented by Gregory N. Wittner and Richard G. Hauser of Wittner, Poger, Spewak, Maylack & Spooner in St. Louis.

Watson alleges the hospital failed to "timely notify treating physician concerning non-reassuring and ominous changes in Darrell Banks, Jr.'s condition," failed to monitor Banks from the time of his presentation until his "untimely demise," failed to periodically take vital signs, failed to administer antibiotics and failed to start IV fluids for dehydration.

A lawsuit Watson filed in 2002 was dismissed without prejudice on July 5, 2007, and refiled July 1.

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