A wrongful-death lawsuit has been filed by the family of a teenage girl who died earlier this year while in the custody of the Jackson County juvenile detention center.
The suit names the Jackson County Family Court’s detention center and Children’s Mercy Hospital as defendants, along with several medical personnel and detention center employees.
Kathia Casseus, 16, was pronounced dead at the hospital in February after experiencing medical problems and being found unconscious at the detention center.
An autopsy revealed that she died of blood clotting in her lungs.
According to the lawsuit filed in Jackson County, Kathia was a special-needs child with a functional IQ of about 68. She was in detention for taking her mother’s car without permission last August and crashing into a carport, causing property damage.
Last November, she was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital and for “reasons still unknown to her mother,” according to the lawsuit, was prescribed a birth control patch.
The Ortho Evra patch is known to carry “dangerous side effects,” including increased risks of developing clots, according to the lawsuit.
On Feb. 21, Kathia complained of heart palpitations and foot pain. Four days later, she complained that she couldn’t breathe and had trouble walking. She was given ibuprofen.
Later that morning, she complained that her chest hurt and that she couldn’t breathe and she fell to the floor.
According to the lawsuit, staff members carried her to a segregation cell and left a message for the center’s on-call nurse, who didn’t respond until later, after 911 had been called.
Kathia continued yelling in the cell but later appeared to be sleeping, the lawsuit contends. Later, about 45 to 50 minutes after Kathia was checked on, staff members noticed that she wasn’t breathing and called 911. They began CPR.
The suit accuses Children’s Mercy and its employees of medical malpractice over the prescription of the birth control patch. It also accuses detention center staff of negligence and violating Kathia’s civil rights.
A family court spokeswoman referred a request for comment Monday to the Missouri attorney general’s office. An attorney general’s spokeswoman said there would be no comment. A spokeswoman for the hospital said it could not comment about pending litigation.