Second Birmingham doctor responds to lawsuit over 7-year-old Kamiya, who died after having appendix removed

Alabama News

Kamiya Dufermeau died at Children’s Hospital after complications from an appendectomy she’d had there a week earlier. (Courtesy of Sherry Robinson)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A second Birmingham doctor is responding to a lawsuit over the death of 7-year-old Kamiya Dufermeau, who died after having her appendix removed earlier this year.

In a response filed Monday, Dr. Colin Martin denied any fault in Kamiya’s death.

“Nothing done by him caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s alleged injuries,” the response said.

Kamiya became sick in mid-April and was diagnosed with appendicitis. After more conservative, nonsurgical interventions did not improve her condition, Martin, a Children’s of Alabama employee, performed a laparoscopic appendectomy on her.

About a week later, Kamiya still felt lethargic, tired, and weak. On May 4, Kamiya’s mother Sherry Robinson brought her daughter to Dr. Theresa Bolus, a physician at Midtown Pediatrics, which is owned and run by Children’s of Alabama.

Bolus diagnosed the child with pinworms and sent her home. She did not conduct a physical exam, according to Robinson’s suit. Bolus has also denied responsibility for Kamiya’s death in a legal response.

The day after Kamiya’s doctor’s visit, Kamiya’s grandmother called 911, and paramedics arrived to find the 7-year-old 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. They were not able to save Kamiya.

An autopsy conducted by Jefferson County Coroner & Medical Examiner’s Office showed that Kamiya died “because of an undiagnosed and untreated postsurgical bowel complication.”

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Kamiya’s mother claims that Martin and his office were responsible for providing Kamiya with meaningful follow-up care after her surgery.

“The standard of care required that Dr. Martin at minimum perform a history and physical on Kamiya following her appendectomy and especially given her presentation with signs and symptoms of a postsurgical bowel complication on May 4, 2021,” the suit says.

Martin’s response to the lawsuit contains 45 separate defenses. In one section of the filing, his legal team claims that Alabama’s Wrongful Death Act is unconstitutional.

Another portion of his response cites the U.S. Supreme Court case BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore as a reason the suit’s call for punitive damages should not be granted. That case involved a claim that BMW had sold Gore a “new” car that had been repainted. An Alabama jury awarded the man $4 million in punitive damages, but the nation’s highest court reversed that judgment, saying that the damages were “grossly excessive” and violated the Constitution.

Kamiya’s “death was not caused by or related to any negligent or wanton act or omission of this defendant,” Martin’s response said.

Children’s of Alabama has refused to comment on Kamiya’s case and has not yet responded to the suit in court. Dr. Theresa Bolus was the first defendant to respond to the complaint. The wrongful death case is being heard by Judge Jim Hughey III.

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