Saturday, September 6

Family Sues Philly School District Over Asthma Death

In my opinion, this is just another example of how the educational systems in this country have suffered when it comes to deciding where funds should be spent... If there were more money in the Philadelphia School District, there would probably have been a full-time nurse, or at least one there more than two days a week!  Laporshia Massey would have been able to use her inhaler as necessary, and would not have felt that she couldn't go to the administration and tell them how she was feeling. This child's death could have been avoided; perhaps if the school staff had been trained about asthma (and other illnesses that children suffer) and given options on what to do in those cases. One of the staff could have contacted the parents and demanded that the child be removed from school if they had training and could recognize the distress she was in. It's just sad that budgets have been cut to this point, to the point where children are dying because they are not allowed to use the medication that has been prescribed for them.

Wednesday, Sept 3, 2014 • Updated at 10:59 PM EDT

The family of a girl who died of an asthma attack after attending a public school without a nurse has sued the Philadelphia School District.

The wrongful-death lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, said that 12-year-old Laporshia Massey remained at school despite complaining late in the day about breathing problems. She was driven home after school by a staff member Sept. 25, 2013, and died later that day, the lawsuit said.

Bryant Elementary School officials should have called 911, especially with no nurse on duty, lawyer Michael Pomerantz said. The West Philadelphia school had a nurse just two days a week.

"They have a phone there. ... Call 911. Play it safe, especially when you know there's no one else on the school grounds who was able to assess the situation," said Pomerantz, who filed the suit on behalf of the girl's estate.

Students were not allowed to use inhalers or take medicine without a nurse present at Bryant, so Laporshia apparently did not try to use her inhaler at school, the lawsuit said.
A school district spokesman did not immediately return a message Wednesday. The district, which reopens for students on Monday, does not typically comment on pending litigation.

Laporshia's father, Daniel Burch, has said the family got two calls about their daughter, but neither sounded urgent. In an interview last year, he said she was the big sister to his two sons, who also have asthma.
Burch described her interests as typical for a sixth-grade girl: "Fashion, clothes, nails, drawing, writing."
Laporshia was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia just after 6 p.m., and died within the hour, Pomerantz said.

The civil rights lawsuit seeks more than $150,000 in damages.