Recently, a 13-year-old Illinois boy died at a Chicago hospital after being brought there with very severe signs of neglect including ulcers, one of which was seeping pus. The boy was being taken care of by his mother and three nurses for various conditions including cerebral palsy. One of the nurses, Morris Lee Brinkley, found him when she started her shift lying in his own feces and urine in the mornings, yet still failed to make a call to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”), which might have saved his life. The other nurse, Loren Brown, did not call DCFS either, though she knew the boy’s mother had failed to take him to his doctor’s appointments. Both nurses claim that they informed their supervisor of the child’s condition, but she denies any such knowledge, further, when the nurses did not see any reaction, they should have made the call to DCFS themselves. The boy’s mother, although not a medical professional, is far from without fault however, as she had a heavy hand in his neglect. The boy’s death has been ruled a homicide, and his mother and the two nurses have been charged with felony neglect and failure to report a neglected child. The extreme level of neglect that was reached could have been prevented had there not been a nursing error: by failing to report the abuse, Brinkley and Brown, regardless of their hand in the actual neglect, made a deadly error in judgment, and their prosecution may show that medical malpractice was involved.
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