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Long Island Couple Files Lawsuit Over Death of Baby Daughter

newborn infant

On Jan. 3, 2014, Sara Keenan fed her 3-month-old daughter Lana and put her down for a nap in their Long Island, N.Y. home. About an hour later, the baby’s father Padraig came into the room to find her chocking on her own vomit, according to the story relayed by the parents.

The family happened to have a houseguest who worked as an EMT, who was able to revive the child and get her to breathe on her own again. The parents then called 911, which they claim was the beginning of a series of fatal errors that ultimately led to their daughter’s death, according to a federal lawsuit they filed against the doctor who treated the infant, the hospital where she received care and the ambulance served that transported the baby.

Couple claims medical negligence

When the emergency medical technicians from Exchange Ambulances of the Islips arrived at the home, the lawsuit claims they failed to intubate the baby, provide her with oxygen or protect her from the freezing January temperature as they transported her to the vehicle. The EMTs took her to Bay Shore’s Southside Hospital, instead of opting for one of the nearby medical centers with a pediatric intensive care unit.

When the baby arrived at the hospital, the medical malpractice lawsuit alleges she was given a myriad of drugs — including Propofol, the sedative that has been linked to the death of Michael Jackson. Consequently, the drugs significantly lowered her blood pressure, blocking the flow of oxygen to her brain for at least an hour. The lawsuit claims an attempt was made to reverse the damage with epinephrine, but efforts failed when an IV was inserted improperly.

Afterwards, Lana was taken to Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, where Dr. Jamie Hoffman-Rosenfeld allegedly introduced herself to the parents as televisions “Dr. House.” According to the lawsuit, Dr. Hoffman-Rosenfeld determined the child was the victim of shaken-baby syndrome.

She then directed “a bogus, illegitimate and wholly contrived witch hunt falsely accusing both of harming their child and causing the injury which ultimately led to her death,” states the lawsuit. “The type of brain damage (Lana) sustained did not even closely resemble what is seen in ‘shaken baby syndrome’ or cases involving intentional or accidental ‘traumatic head injury,’” according to the claim.

Keenan children taken away from parents

As a result of these allegations, the parents were banned from seeing their baby daughter and their other children. Two boys ages six and three were taken into protective custody by social workers. The alleged child abuse was investigated by the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County Attorney’s Office, but they found no signs a crime had been committed. Two subsequent autopsies also confirmed the child had endured no physical abuse.

Baby Lana died in February 2014.

Despite the evidence clearing the parents, the child protection agency continued to pursue its case against them on behalf of their two boys, until it was finally dropped in January 2015. The couple has filed a federal lawsuit seeking unspecified damages from Dr. Hoffman-Rosenfeld, Northwell Health, Suffolk County and the Exchange Ambulances.