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Health care provider agrees to $500,000 settlement in connection with death of 16-month-old patient

Pediatric patient died from suffocation
Posted at 3:31 PM, Nov 19, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kaleida Health has agreed to pay $500,000 in restitution and damages as part of a settlement following an investigation into the 2015 death of a 16-month-old patient at the HighPointe on Michigan Health Care Facility in Buffalo, New York.

The pediatric patient died from suffocation after “being left unattended while inappropriately being tube-fed in a high chair that was not required by the infant’s care plan,” according to the New York State Attorney General’s Office. “The infant could not hold his head up without artificial support and did not have the ability to clear his throat or call for help.”

The baby was admitted to HighPointe in January 2015 after staff at Kaleida's Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo convinced his mother to admit him to HighPointe during flu season, according to court documents. The child was in the pediatric unit for 33 days until February 18, when he was found unresponsive in his room.

As part of the settlement, Kaleida agreed to increase staffing and supervision at the facility. The company has since invested more than $8 million into additional staffing and services at HighPointe's pediatric wing and corrective changes to policies and procedures, according to the Attorney General’s office. Forty full-time staff members have been hired, including a new medical director of the pediatric unit. A minimum number of pediatric care staff is also required on the floor at all times.

The settlement follows the arrests of 17 caregivers in 2014 who were later convicted of neglecting a resident with Huntington’s disease at the HighPointe facility, which is part of the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus.

This story was originally published on WKBW.