The family of a 7-year-old boy who died in respiratory distress after a 12-hour saga to three hospitals, is asking why he was sent on a lengthy ambulance trek which lawyers contend contributed to his death.
Aaron Pointer suffered an asthma attack during the early morning hours of September 18, 2010. His parents took him to St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, but after less than two hours of treatment, doctors made the decision to transfer him to the hospital’s sister facility in Chicago Heights. The boy was treated at that hospital for about eight hours, but as his condition continued to worsen, a decision was made to transfer him, still again, to St. Joseph Hospital in Joliet.
Aaron went into respiratory distress in the ambulance during the 45-minute trip to Joliet, where he was reportedly in full cardiac arrest upon arrival. He died at St. Joseph’s five days later.
“He was a joy,” said his mother, Sharese Pointer. “He was the happiest kid I’ve ever seen. He loved singing. He loved loving people, he was just happy.”
Attorney Joseph Miroballi, who represents the boy’s parents, contends he never should have been sent to the second St. James facility, which he alleges only offered a collateral level of care. He further charges that the trip to Joliet was ill-advised, when other hospitals with equal or superior facilities were closer.
“There was no medical reason whatsoever for transporting him from one hospital to another to another, because the level of care was the same,” Miroballi said. “He was having a respiratory crisis. And he was crashing!”
St. James Hospital issued a statement expressing sympathies to the Pointer family, but stating their disagreement with the family’s allegations. “We are confident that facts of this case will show that throughout his entire time at Franciscan St. James, Aaron received the appropriate care and treatment,” the hospital said.
A spokesman for Provena St. Joseph’s Hospital in Joliet, which is also named in the suit, declined comment, citing privacy rules. But she added, “Our prayers and sympathies remain with the family.”