An Eastern Carolina hospital denies that its ambulance crew was negligent and caused the death of a youngster after a skateboarding accident. This as the state confirms they are investigating the death.
Back in November the family of Drew Hughes sued Carteret General Hospital, claiming hospital employees were "grossly negligent" and acted with "reckless disregard", causing the teen's death.
The family's attorney says the 13-year-old was alert and speaking to his parents in the hospital emergency room after the accident. He says as a precaution, Carteret General decided to transfer the teen to Vidant Medical Center.
The attorney says Carteret General sent a respiratory therapist along in the ambulance because they decided to put a breathing tube down the child's throat. He says Hughes was not properly sedated, woke up and pulled out the tube. The attorney says when those in the ambulance re-inserted the tube, it went into the teen's esophagus, rather than his trachea.
He says the youngster was given sedatives, and the teen, unable to breathe on his own, went without oxygen for about 35 minutes.
In its answer to the lawsuit, dated December 19th, Carteret General denies that its employees caused the teen's death and that Hughes received appropriate care. The hospital asks that the lawsuit be dismissed, but if it continues they request a jury trial on the case.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health and Human Services confirms that the North Carolina Office of EMS is investigating the child's death.
A DHHS spokeswoman says since the case is an active investigation, they could not comment further. But she said when it is complete, their report would be public.