Family Files Lawsuit Against the School District of Philadelphia for Allegedly Failing to Provide Medical Care After Student Suffered Deadly Asthma Attack

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Today, on behalf of a Philadelphia family, Marrone Law Firm, LLC filed a civil lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia for allegedly failing to provide medical care after a sixth grade student suffered a deadly asthma attack.

The family of a 12-year old girl who died allegedly because her school had no nurse and did not take her to the hospital, has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 14-5046, seeking compensation for her death. The suit names as Defendants the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia, W.C. Bryant Promise Academy, the school’s Principal and a teacher.

Laporshia Massey, a sixth grade student at Bryant, allegedly had a known, pre-existing medical condition, asthma. This condition required her to use medication at times to control her symptoms. According to court documents, on September 25, 2013, while at school, Massey began to have trouble breathing, exhibiting signs of an asthma attack.

On the date of the incident, the elementary school did not have a nurse on duty. The complaint states, “The absence of a nurse from the school on that date was the result of policy decisions by Defendants.” According to the complaint, “Students, including Decedent Laporshia Massey, were not permitted to possess and or use prescribed medication at the school without the supervision of a nurse.”

Laporshia allegedly informed her teacher of difficulty breathing, to which the teacher responded, “be calm,” noting that there was no nurse on duty. Defendants kept the student at school despite her worsening condition and visible distress. The complaint alleges Defendants neglected to contact emergency medical services at any time.

It is maintained that, upon arriving home, Massey was rushed to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia by her father. Medical records indicate she suffered respiratory arrest en route to the hospital. Hospital staff were unable to revive the child. The official cause of death was determined to be acute exacerbation of asthma.

Plaintiff alleges that defendants acted with deliberate indifference to medical needs, including not rendering medical assistance to the Decedent, not having any qualified staff present at Bryant to render necessary medical care, and not calling an ambulance or taking Laporshia to the hospital.

The family seeks compensatory and punitive damages from each defendant, namely the School District of Philadelphia, for their negligence and wrongful conduct resulting in the decedent’s severe suffering and untimely death.

The Plaintiffs are represented by the Marrone Law Firm, LLC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Jennifer Tierney
Marrone Law Firm, LLC
+1 (215) 732-6700 Ext: 203
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