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County Settles in Juvenile Hall Wrongful Death Suit

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 01, 2010 1:34 PM

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has agreed to settle a lawsuit for wrongful death brought by the parents of a boy who died while in custody at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Despite complaining of fevers, headaches and toothaches for at least five days in a row, he was not treated in a clinic until days after his symptoms began. He was finally admitted to the County-USC Medical Center hospital, where he died of meningitis. 

According to a report by the Contra Costa Times, the parents of 14-year-old Tremayne Cole filed their suit in October for the wrongful death of their son. In 2009, a database was put in place to help track medical histories and alerts for the minors in custody at Los Padrinos. By November 2009, additional changes were added to require staff to add a minimum of three notations a week for any minor in custody.

The Times reports further revelations from the Board of Supervisors show mistakes by the staff at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. It was noted that Tremayne was not taken to see a dentist and that there was "limited charting in the juvenile behavior chart during important timeframes." Roughly translated, this may mean that the proper notes were not made by staff in order to facilitate Tremayne's care.

Since he was not sent to the hospital until 10 or even 12 days after he first complained of pain, the infection must have been too advanced by the time the doctors were able to treat him. LAWeekly reports that the hospital physicians tried to drain infectious fluid from Tremayne's head to relieve the pain it was causing, but to no avail. On March 4, he was declared dead.

The parents of Tremayne Cole will receive a settlement of $400,000. However, the repercussions from the case have still not completely been addressed by the County Board of Supervisors. They will be putting in place a "corrective action plan" which will be an outline for what further action needs to take place to avoid a repetition of this kind of tragedy in the future. Unfortunately, the motion on the action plan was continued until later in July.

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