A St. Clair County woman has filed suit against Belleville Memorial Hospital and five of its doctors, alleging her infant daughter died of cardiac arrest because of the doctors' negligence.

Courtney Williams claims that because doctors failed to diagnose meningitis in her daughter, Aaliyah, she suffered a cardiac arrest and died on Dec. 19, 2006, according to the complaint filed Dec. 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Before her death, Aaliyah suffered great conscious pain and suffering, the suit states.

Because of Aaliyah's death, Courtney has suffered a loss of society, grief, sorrow and mental suffering, the suit states.

Drs. Melody Santos, Brian Franks and Christopher Sallee are allegedly negligent by failing to recognize the symptoms of meningitis, Courtney claims.

Santos, Franks, Sallee and Dr. Joseph Silhavy are allegedly negligent by failing to perform a complete and adequate medical assessment on Aaliyah, according to the complaint.

Santos and Silhavy also negligently failed to administer proper care and give proper instructions to others to rehydrate Aaliyah, failed to administer proper care and give proper instructions to others to administer antibiotic treatment for Aaliyah's meningitis and failed to examine and individually assess Aaliyah according to the complaint.

In addition, Santos negligently failed to perform appropriate testing, including a lumbar puncture, on Aaliyah, Courtney claims.

Dr. Christopher Sallee also was negligent by failing to treat Aaliyah's dehydration and releasing her from the hospital, according to the complaint.

Dr. Paul Sander negligently breached his duty to provide Aaliyah with the knowledge, skill and care of a well-qualified health care provider when he attempted to insert an improperly sized endotracheal tube into Aaliyah during the initiation of life-saving measures, the suit states.

That caused Aaliyah's intubation time to be delayed by six minutes, Courtney claims.

Belleville Memorial Hospital breached its duty for care and protection by failing to provide proper training to its employees regarding the signs of meningitis; by failing to provide training and failing to implement policies and procedures that would have required its employees to perform a complete and adequate medical assessment, to use a properly-sized endotracheal tube when intubating an infant, to maintain proper hydration in an infant under hospital care and to implement appropriate use of antibiotic treatment for meningitis; and by failing to implement policies and procedures that would have required its employees to properly and timely examine and assess Aaliyah and that would have protected Aaliyah, according to the complaint.

In the 14-count suit, Courtney is seeking a judgment in excess of $700,000.

Jena L. Borden of Goldenberg, Heller, Antognoli and Rowland in Edwardsville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 08-L-633.

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