BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For the second time in less than a year, Children’s of Alabama, a pediatric hospital in Birmingham, has been ordered by a judge to hand over information in a wrongful death case.
In a ruling issued Monday, Judge Jim Hughey III ordered Children’s of Alabama to produce information related to its electronic medical records system to the plaintiffs in the case.
The order comes in a wrongful death lawsuit involving the late Kamiya “Cookie” Dufermeau, a 7-year-old who died following a routine surgery at Children’s of Alabama in May 2021.
Sherry Robinson, the child’s mother, claims that doctors at Children’s of Alabama “failed to meet the applicable standards of care in diagnosing and treating Kamiya” after she had a routine appendectomy in April 2021. That failure of care, the suit says, led to Kamiya’s death.
Kamiya Dufermeau became sick in mid-April 2021 and was diagnosed with appendicitis. After more conservative, nonsurgical interventions did not improve her condition, Dr. Colin Martin, who is affiliated with Children’s of Alabama, performed a laparoscopic appendectomy on her, according to the family’s suit.
About a week later, Kamiya still felt tired and weak. On May 4, Kamiya’s mother brought her daughter to Dr. Theresa Bolus, a physician at Midtown Pediatrics, a facility run by Children’s. Bolus diagnosed the child with pinworms and sent her home. She did not conduct a physical exam, according to Robinson’s suit.
The day after Kamiya’s doctor’s visit, her grandmother called 911, and paramedics arrived to find the girl without a pulse. She was brought to Children’s of Alabama where doctors “performed four rounds of pediatrics advanced life support,” according to the lawsuit. Their efforts were not successful.
An autopsy conducted by the Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner’s Office showed Kamiya died “because of an undiagnosed and untreated postsurgical bowel complication.”
Children’s of Alabama and Drs. Bolus and Martin, who are also named in the suit, have denied responsibility for Kamiya’s death in court filings. In separate responses to the suit, the hospital and the two doctors denied responsibility for her death and argued that the state’s wrongful death law violates the constitution.
A trial in the case has tentatively been set for later this year.
This week’s order is not the first time Children’s of Alabama has been forced to hand over documents in the case. In April 2022, Judge Hughey ordered Children’s of Alabama to hand over multiple documents, including Kamiya’s medical records, to her family’s attorneys.
Orders to compel the production of documents come only after efforts to obtain them without a court order have been unsuccessful, according to court rules.
This week’s order, signed by Judge Jim Hughey III, said the hospital has until Jan. 30 to respond to Robinson’s discovery requests.