Health Care

Lawsuit alleges psychiatric facility employee broke 9-year-old boy’s arm

A lawsuit filed last week alleges that an employee at the KVC Prairie Ridge psychiatric hospital in Kansas City, Kan., broke a 9-year-old patient’s arm.
A lawsuit filed last week alleges that an employee at the KVC Prairie Ridge psychiatric hospital in Kansas City, Kan., broke a 9-year-old patient’s arm. amarso@kcstar.com

A suit filed last week alleges that an employee of a Kansas City, Kan., psychiatric hospital for children broke the arm of a 9-year-old patient.

Jeffrey Wallace of Salina brought the suit on behalf of his son, who is not named because he’s a minor. The defendant is KVC Behavioral Healthcare Inc., an Olathe company that operates KVC Prairie Ridge Hospital where the boy was injured.

The lawsuit is filed in Johnson County District Court.

According to the complaint, Wallace got a call from Children’s Mercy Hospital in December 2015 because his son had been admitted with a fracture of his left humerus.

KVC staff said the boy was jumping on the bed and fell off. But the complaint says that the injury “is not consistent with a fall from a bed.”

Wallace’s attorney, Norman Kelly of Salina, says that KVC employee Jennifer Hobbs broke the boy’s arm by grabbing and twisting it to discipline the boy for failing to follow instructions.

The suit says the boy suffered a fracture of the lateral condyle of his left humerus. According to a radiology reference website, it’s a relatively common elbow injury in children and it can be caused by falling onto an outstretched hand, or when force is applied to a twisted forearm.

The suit seeks $75,000 for medical expenses, including surgery, plus Wallace’s travel expenses and lost wages and the boy’s pain and suffering.

KVC is also a state contractor for foster care in Kansas. Its Prairie Ridge facility is a 75-acre campus at 4300 Brenner Drive, north of Interstate 70 and just south of the Missouri River.

According to the facility’s webpage, it offers both inpatient and residential psychiatric treatment for children and adolescents and “provides a modern, safe, secure and child-friendly environment in a private and peaceful setting.”

Jenny Kutz, KVC’s director of communications, said the company did not have much to say about the suit at this point.

“We have no comment other than a claim was filed on April 11 and our insurance carrier is reviewing the claim at this time,” Kutz said.

She declined to say whether Hobbs was still employed there.

Andy Marso: 816-234-4055, @andymarso

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