Mother of Wyoming student wrestler sues hospital

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The mother of a 16-year-old boy who was paralyzed after breaking two vertebrae during high school wrestling practice has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Wyoming hospital that treated him.

The lawsuit from Melissa Plumley alleges Cheyenne Regional Medical Center didn't monitor Isaac Salas properly and discharged him even though he was having difficulty breathing. The lawsuit filed last week seeks undisclosed damages for Salas' death, and for medical and funeral expenses, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported (http://goo.gl/ef5dvN).

Hospital officials declined to discuss the case with the newspaper, saying they don't comment on pending litigation.

Salas was at wrestling practice in November 2010 at Cheyenne South High School when he broke two vertebrae in his neck, leaving him paralyzed. After months of rehab, he continued going to school and started his junior year.

The lawsuit says he was taken to the hospital on Sept. 2, 2011, because he was having problems with his catheter. The lawsuit alleges that pain medication that Salas was given while hospitalized made it harder for him to breathe because his paralysis reduced his respiratory strength.

The lawsuit also claims that hospital staff did not update Salas' information chart with his heart rate and breathing rate. It says he was released the following day without being examined by his doctor. As Salas was wheeled out of the hospital, he was dizzy and unsteady and "seeing stars and lights" — symptoms of having a low oxygen level, the lawsuit says.

Salas stopped breathing hours after his discharge and returned to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the lawsuit.

"As a result of the negligence of (the) defendants . Salas died," the lawsuit states.

About 800 people attended his funeral.

In addition to the hospital, the lawsuit names the medical center's board of trustees, and the doctor assigned to Salas at the hospital. The lawsuit was filed in Laramie County District Court.


Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle, http://www.wyomingnews.com

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