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'It doesn't make sense.' | Family questions Kayfield Academy after daughter's death, files lawsuit

The family claims Kayfield Academy II had child-to-staff ratio violations, failed to properly train employees, and gave false information to emergency crews.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jishnu Radhakrishnan said when he dropped his daughter off at an east Louisville daycare, it was any other day. 

He said the 13-month-old, Shivani, was full of personality. She smiled and laughed in the car, then waved to her dad and gave him a kiss as he was leaving on Dec. 16, 2021

That would be the last time Radhakrishnan would see his daughter smiling and breathing on her own. 

Shivani Jishnu's parents believe they lost their daughter because of Kayfield Academy II's negligence. 

The parents alleged in a lawsuit filed this week that the daycare violated child-to-staff ratios, failed to properly train staff, and gave false information to emergency crews.

According to her parents, Shivani was like so many other babies. She was smart, funny and loved by her mother, Vini Vijayarajan, and father.

"She was a sassy person," Vijayarajan said with a smile and chuckle. "We could really see from the first day, she always had her own way of doing things and she definitely had her dad wrapped around her finger."

RELATED: Attorneys: Child found unresponsive at Louisville daycare was without oxygen for 20 minutes

Credit: Family of Shivani Jishnu

When her parents dropped her off at Kayfield Academy II on Dec. 16, she was laughing and smiling, it was a normal day. But that afternoon, her parents received a call from the facility. 

"Shortly after 4, we got the call from the daycare that Shivani..." her mother said. "EMTs were responding to Shivani and we needed to come to daycare immediately." 

Vijayarajan said that when they got the call they couldn't believe it. 

"I was like, 'Are you talking about Shivani?' because that was like something we never expected," she said. "We got the call and ran out of the door immediately."

Shivani was taken to Norton Children's Hospital where doctors told her parents the young girl's injuries were consistent with a lack of oxygen for at least 20 minutes. Three weeks later, on Jan. 7, 2022, Shivani died at the hospital.

Kayfield Academy II told responding EMTs the incident that happened during Shivani's naptime, but a few days later, her parents began questioning how accurate that was. 

"That's one thing," Radhakrishnan said. "That day, we didn't pay attention, but when things settled down, that's when we realized, it doesn't really make sense." 

Shivani's parents alleged that the daycare later admitted that the 13-month-old wasn't napping at the time EMTs were called.

RELATED: Family says Louisville day care responsible for 13-month-old's death, lawsuit claims

Radhakrishnan and Vijayarajan also requested the video footage from their daughter's classroom on the day of the emergency, a feature they said they paid extra for at the school, but they were told by the daycare that none existed.

That's when the parents said they filed the lawsuit against Kayfield Academy II.

"We want to know what happened," Radhakrishnan said.  "She was happy, funny that morning. When I dropped her off, she waved and kissed me. Next time we saw her she was unresponsive and couldn't even breathe." 

He said he wants to know what happened to his daughter because "I don't want that to happen to anyone else."

This lawsuit was just filed this week, so there isn't a court date set yet. 

The family's attorneys said they expect the discovery to take a long time, but they hope to learn more about what happened in the coming weeks.

The lawsuit also names the teacher supervising the classroom at the time, Parshati Pal, who according to the family's attorneys, left the country after the medical emergency occurred, but has since returned.

Both Kayfield Academy and Pal have been notified about the lawsuit, but attorneys for both declined to comment. 

WHAS11 News also reached out to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, but the agency said it cannot release information related to an open case.

LMPD has also denied requests from WHAS11 for a copy of the police report. 

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