An Oregon family has filed suit against the state’s Department of Human Services and their pediatrician after their son died of similar injuries to those of another child who suffered traumatic brain injuries while in the care of the same daycare.
The wrongful death lawsuit accuses Oregon child welfare workers of ignoring concerns about injuries suffered by another child earlier in the year, leaving the small daycare center where his son died free to operate without oversight or inquiry. They also named their pediatrician for failure to report signs of abuse to their child that she had observed before he died.
A.J. Swearengin was just ten months and six days old when died of multiple injuries, including traumatic brain injury. His parents’ lawsuit indicates that they had were never warned about reports of abuse at their son’s daycare. The boy died in September of 2016 after enduring repeated injuries.
The family is seeking $18.75 million in compensation, claiming that the Eugene clinic pediatrician that provided their son’s care and the Department of Human Services had both failed to protect their son through their failure to investigate the daycare.
Lawsuit Cites Failure to Properly Investigate Earlier Traumatic Brain Injury Death
A.J.’s parents’ lawsuit claims that had the traumatic brain injuries suffered by the first child been appropriately investigated, they would have been given warnings that would have prevented their son’s death while under the care of the My Little Buttercup Day Care.
Instead, the lawsuit says, the agency wrongly focused their attention on the child’s parents, who had argued against the accusations and blamed the daycare for their son’s injuries. Despite their protestations, the boy was put into foster care and the daycare was never investigated.
The traumatic brain injury cases are not the first time that the Oregon child protection agency has been accused of negligence. A case earlier this year found that the agency had placed two young girls into foster care along with a 13-year-old boy known to have behavioral issues that would put the girls in danger. Both girls were sexually abused.