LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new lawsuit adds more legal trouble for one of Kentucky's largest health networks, Norton Healthcare.
This lawsuit claims one of its immediate care centers denied medical treatment to a Guatemalan teen, who died less than an hour later.
Andres Lopez Vasquez reflected on the night of Jan. 11, when his youngest brother, Marvi, was writhing in pain. Andres spoke with WHAS11 with the help of a translator.
The 15-year-old had a terrible stomachache, so painful, Andres says, that Marvi couldn't make it into the Norton Immediate Care Center & Norton Children’s After Hours on Preston Highway.
It was the closest place for the Lopez brothers to get help.
Their other brother, Pedro, went inside pleading for help in the best English he had.
Andres told WHAS11 when Pedro came out and said they weren't willing to help, "[I] was very upset and said I don’t understand, just have them come help us, and then we can try to produce the documents later."
Those documents are quoted as "his papers" in a lawsuit against Norton Healthcare.
Both older brothers claim a receptionist asked for papers, even dialing up a telephonic translator to relay the message.
All this as Marvi was laying in the parking lot with Andres holding him, as time ticked by.
The lawsuit then claims Marvi lost consciousness, and reception gave the brothers a list of other healthcare facilities to take him to.
They took Marvi to UofL Health -- Mary & Elizabeth Hospital, but it was too late.
He died soon after arriving from a ruptured appendix.
“You know someone's in your parking lot in distress, you know, CPR, offering oxygen to that young man, there is a duty to call that person an ambulance, if they need it,” John Spalding, the family’s attorney, said.
In an emailed statement, Norton Healthcare expressed sympathy while stating that Marvi never entered the facility and care was not denied; that due to a language barrier, staff didn’t know there was an emergency in the parking lot and that the health network provides care to all and did not and does not ask for immigration papers.
Read the full statement from Renee Murphy, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at Norton Healthcare:
Our hearts go out to the family involved. The individual in need of emergency medical assistance never entered our outpatient facility and care was not denied. Due to a language barrier, our staff did not know there was an emergency occurring outside in the parking lot. While following our process of accessing an interpreter, the family left.
Norton Healthcare provides care to all and we did not ask for immigration papers in this case, nor do we ask for that in any case.