Lawsuits Claim Failures by Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center Caused the Deaths of Two Special Needs Children

GLADEWATER, TEXAS — Two recently filed lawsuits over the deaths of two special needs children, only weeks apart, paint a heartbreaking picture of neglect by the facility the parents trusted to protect their children and keep them safe. Separate lawsuits were filed in the District Court of Upshur County, Texas alleging negligence and gross negligence against Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center located in Gladewater. Dallas attorneys, Kay Van Wey and Brady Williams, represent Dolly Connor and Jazlynn Lujan, the mothers whose children, identified as W.C. and G.P., sustained catastrophic brain injuries in March 2017 while they were under the care of Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center.

Wrong Death - Truman W. Smith Children's Care Center - Van Wey Law

According to the lawsuits, G.P., a 2-year-old boy, was born with respiratory complications and admitted to Truman W. Smith Children’s Care for rehabilitation in September 2015. Due to his condition, G.P. required a ventilator and tracheostomy (“trach”) tube in order to breathe. On March 15, 2017, G.P. was found unresponsive by Truman staff after they failed to respond to an alarm indicating that G.P. was unable to breathe. Tragically, the significant lack of oxygen resulted in brain death. G.P. remained on life support in a vegetative state for several weeks, ultimately passing on April 15, 2017.

Less than two weeks after G.P. was found unresponsive, W.C., a 7-year-old boy who also required a ventilator and trach tube, was found unresponsive after his trach tube became dislodged and no one responded to the alarm. Similar to G.P., the lack of oxygen resulted in brain death and a grave prognosis for any meaningful recovery. W.C.’s family was forced to make the difficult decision to withdraw life support on March 30, 2017.

“Our clients have suffered the unimaginable loss of a child which could have easily been prevented,” said Kay Van Wey. “Truman W. Smith Children’s Care Center, and its parent company, Nexion Health, should be held accountable for failing these two little boys. The mothers made the brave decision to bring these lawsuits to warn other families about the care their loved ones may receive at this facility.”

“Each event alone is tragic, but in combination and only days apart, raises serious concerns about the quality of care being provided to these vulnerable patients,” Ms. Van Wey added. “We have reason to believe that other patients may have been neglected at this facility and urge anyone who has information to contact us immediately.”

Kay Van Wey is a national patient safety advocate and a subject matter expert on the laws and workings of a medical system that often fails to protect patients. She has litigated medical malpractice and other cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death for over 30 years. Kay has been named a Texas Super Lawyer for 15 consecutive years, a D-Best Lawyer by D Magazine, and a Texas Trial Legend by the Dallas Bar Association. Kay Van Wey is, first and foremost, a patient safety advocate who was recently featured on the acclaimed national podcast “Dr. Death” for her role in helping bringing convicted neurosurgeon, Dr. Christopher Duntsch, to justice.

For more information about these cases, contact Kay Van Wey at (800) 489-5082.