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Family sues Swedish Medical Center after child died 40 minutes after being released

DENVER -- The parents of a 10-year-old boy have filed a lawsuit against Swedish Medical Center for the wrongful death of their son in December 2014, the family’s attorney said Thursday.

The parents of Isaiah Bird said he collapsed and went into respiratory arrest 40 minutes after being discharged from the Swedish Medical Center emergency room.

His father took him to Swedish because the boy was having trouble breathing.

The lawsuit said the hospital prematurely released Isaiah on Dec. 23, 2014 after he had tested positive for influenza and had failed to respond to breathing treatments.

According to the family’s attorney, an autopsy later confirmed the boy had influenza but also had "pneumonia and tracheitis, an infection of the upper airway."

“It’s an unspeakable tragedy that never should have happened,” attorney David Woodruff said. “Isaiah’s respiratory illness was very common in Colorado, and was very treatable.  Isaiah’s pediatrician sent him to the ER because he could not breathe and needed to be admitted to the hospital.

“Instead, the ER staff discharged him without any attempt at a proper diagnosis. This boy suffocated to death literally on the way home from the hospital because of the carelessness of Swedish hospital and its staff.”

The family also named the assigned doctor and nurse from the emergency room in the lawsuit.

“Swedish Medical Center is aware of the lawsuit that was filed today, though we are surprised by many of the accusations. Our hearts go out to the family. It is never easy to lose a loved one and no doubt this is a particularly difficult time of year," Swedish Medical Center spokeswoman Nicole Williams said.