Warning- Graphic Content
This is so sad.
Warning- Graphic Content
This is so sad.
Two separate investigations will review Child Protective Services’ handling of a Dallas toddler’s case after the child was found dead Thursday in a landfill, a day after his aunt and caregiver reported him missing.
Authorities charged Sedrick Johnson, the 27-year-old boyfriend of the child’s aunt, with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.
Johnson faces additional charges pending the medical examiner’s findings. The toddler had been living in a Lake Highlands apartment with Johnson and his aunt, Crystal Jackson, after CPS placed him in her care.
Internal and independent reviews will likely examine why Cedrick was placed in the home of Johnson, who has a criminal history in Dallas County.
The story below is a tragic reminder that when you love someone -show them – your time with them is never guaranteed.
We are not in charge.
As parents we are, or try to be, mindful of taking precautions against the risks in this world that may harm our children. Covering electrical outlets, holding hands while crossing the street, installing gates around pools, etc.
However, this case reminds us, that we cannot prevent everything from potentially harming our child.
There are just some things that you don’t think about until too late. I mean, I never worried about sending my kids to school and that they might never vine home after choking on a pushpin of all things.
It just goes to show ya that time is precious.
To the suffering family: Godspeed, and may you find peace somehow! It’s Almost Tuesday.
After a Frisco Child’s Death, Her Family Wants Answers and Changes from Frisco ISD
Tues, May 27, 2014 at 10:22 AM
By Eric Nicholson
Source: Dallas Observer
No one — not her teacher, not her mom, not the school nurse, not the paramedics — could initially explain why Meaghan Levy, an otherwise healthy kindergartener at Frisco’s Corbell Elementary, suddenly collapsed to the floor as her class walked to the library on the morning of December 12. She had no history of medical problems and no known allergies.
The night before was normal — a trip to the grocery store with her mom and siblings, a dinner of turkey tacos, a run-through of Finding Nemo before bed — as was the morning.
She was in good spirits when she was dropped off at school in her white shirt and jean jacket, and she was typically cheerful as her class set out for the library an hour-and-a-half later.
When Fox 4 reported on the death the next week, they could say for certain only that Meaghan “became ill.”.
The actual cause of death was suggested by X-rays doctors at Children’s Medical Center at Legacy as they frantically tried to save Meaghan’s life, and confirmed a month later by the Collin County Medical Examiner: asphyxiation by pushpin.
For Meaghan’s mother, Nicole Kennedy, and her aunt, Erika Kennedy, the past five months have eroded some of the initial shock of losing a child 11 days before her 6th birthday. But they’ve done little to ease their despair.
Though Frisco ISD and Frisco police have closed their respective investigations and ruled the death an accident, the Kennedy sisters have questions:
Why didn’t Meaghan’s teacher have CPR training?
Why did the oxygen bottle pumping air into her lungs while paramedics were en route malfunction, sending the school nurse to the hospital?
Why were pushpins allowed within a kindergartener’s reach in the first place?
In an emailed response to questions posed by Unfair Park, Frisco ISD spokeswoman Shana Wortham said no employees have been disciplined and no policy changes have been made in the wake of Meaghan’s death.
Teachers are still encouraged, but not required, to take CPR training as part of their professional development regimen, and no move has been made to bar pushpins from Frisco ISD kindergarten classes.
“The hearts of the staff and students at the campus and the District continue to go out to the family,” Wortham wrote. “It was a tragic loss for all those who knew and loved her.”
Tragic particularly because it was avoidable. Pushpin deaths seem to be relatively rare, but they’re hardly unheard of.
Within two months of each other in 2011, children in Louisville, Kentucky and Oceanside, California choked to death on pushpins, their plastic bases just the right size to lodge in a young child’s trachea.
Even when they’re fully inhaled, they pose a painful challenge, the sharp point making them a nightmare to remove from the lungs.
Even after Meaghan began choking on the pushpin, there appears to be room for a quicker, more effective response.
According to a Frisco PD incident report, the first indication that something was wrong came when Meaghan approached her teacher in the hallway with her hands to her throat, appearing as if she couldn’t breath.(A video camera in the hallway captured Meaghan choking from afar, but does not show when or how she obtained the pushpin.)
The teacher’s response was to lead the girl to the nurse’s office, but Meaghan collapsed before they reached the door. Two parent volunteers happened to be standing nearby and helped carry Meaghan into the nurse’s office, by which time her face was turning blue. One of the volunteers performed the Heimlich maneuver — unsuccessfully, he told police. The nurse began CPR.
During the course of CPR, the nurse began to use one of the portable medical emergency oxygen units Frisco ISD provides at all its campuses. As she delivered the oxygen, the tank malfunctioned, spraying the nurse with a chemical — a caustic substance similar to soda ash — and sending her to the hospital.
Something similar happened in September when the school nurse at Frisco’s Lone Star High School attempted to administer oxygen to a student. The tank exploded, according to media reports, spraying the nurse, a student, three firefighters, and an assistant principal with the chemical and sending them to the hospital.
Wortham says the oxygen units are designed, manufactured and distributed by Frisco-based Oxysure.
“The portable oxygen is another tool available to our personnel to use in a medical situation until paramedics arrive,” she writes. “The District usually also has AEDs at every facility.”
Wortham did not address why the unit malfunctioned, when it was last inspected, or whether the twin cases of malfunctioning oxygen tanks has prompted the district to enact any changes.
She prefaced her responses with a note that
“the District’s comments are limited since we are unsure of legal action being considered.”
Oxysure said in a statement that its product worked properly in Meaghan’s case and in others.
“The cause of this tragedy appears to the be accidental swallowing of a pushpin and is unrelated to our product,” the company said. “We are unclear as to why we are being brought into it.”
FISD, the statement continues, “has hundreds of our units, and has successfully used the product in hundreds of saves since 2008.”
The media reports last fall were inaccurate.
The Oxysure unit is not a “tank” and is not “compressed.” It’s easy to confuse our product with traditional oxygen units, since that’s closer to the public’s frame of reference.
Our product is break-through, safe, accessible, life-safing technology and we work hard every day to re-frame the mindset around supplemental oxygen. Our job is to re-educate the public around this product since it’s breakthrough technology.
Bottom line is, OxySure units contain inert powders that, when deployed, provide medically safe and pure oxygen. OxySure saves lives.
Frisco ISD would have been responsible for inspecting the units, the company said.
Paramedics arrived soon after the oxygen tank malfunctioned and took Meaghan to the hospital.
After doctors discovered the pushpin, they decided she needed to be airlifted to the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. Before they could load her on the helicopter, however, her condition worsened.
“After several minutes of intense care,” the police report says, “the lead doctor came into the hallway and notified the family that Meaghan had died.”
It’s not clear from the police report or autopsy that a properly functioning oxygen tank or a teacher trained to provide CPR would have saved Meaghan. But those are big “what ifs” — too big, say the Kennedy sisters.
They hope Meaghan’s death can still prompt changes at Frisco ISD: a ban on pushpins; mandatory CPR training for teachers; a better system to ensure the emergency medical equipment is in proper working order.
As much as anything, they want to raise awareness: Beware of kids and pushpins.
This post has been updated with a response from Oxysure.
© 2014 Dallas Observer, LLC. All rights reserved.
September 21, 2009 Filed at 11:09 p.m. ET TAMPA,Fla. (AP)
A Florida woman slain along with her five children endured regular abuse from her husband but seemed overwhelmed by trying to raise the kids herself and wanted him around as a father figure, Department of Children and Families records show. Police in Haiti on Monday detained Mesac Damas, wanted for questioning in the slayings of his wife, Guerline Damas, and the couple’s three boys and two girls in their Naples, Fla., apartment. A relative said detectives told them their throats had been slit. Collier County Sheriff’s deputies have called Mesac Damas a person of interest in the slayings. The 33-year-old boarded a flight to Haiti from Miami International Airport on Friday, a day before police found the bodies. Mesac Damas told The Associated Press at the police station where he was being held in Port-au-Prince that he had planned to surrender and that he returned to his native Caribbean nation ”to say goodbye to my family.”
”I was going to turn myself in. You see I’ve got my suit on and everything,” Demas said as police led him from a backroom where he was interrogated to a jail cell.
He did not respond when asked if he killed his wife. Just days before he left the country, a Department of Children and Families caseworker assigned to the family had made an unannounced visit to the apartment and noted in a report that the children, ages 11 months to 9 years, seemed healthy and safe. Mesac Damas was home and dinner was cooked. The toddler was wearing a sundress and playing with her doll while the older daughter, dressed in pink, asked the caseworker if she had brought her a pink book bag, because she was going to school next year. The boys were in T-shirts and shorts and the worker didn’t see any bruises or marks.
Mesac Damas was due to finish a court-ordered battery intervention course in November. ”There is no safety concern,” the file reads. ”Children are doing fine.” But relatives of Guerline Damas, 32, said her husband was a ”loose cannon” who would take away his wife’s cell phone and be rude to her family. ”You’d never know what he’d do,” said her younger brother, Mackindy Dieu, 23, who lived with the couple several years ago. Dieu said his sister wasn’t open about the details of her personal life and her family didn’t know she was being abused until January, when Mesac Damas was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery after he hit his wife as she held their baby daughter in her arms. According to DCF records, he choked her and ripped her shirt off.
”As this is occurring, the child slipped out of the mother’s hand and fell to the floor,” the report states. It was one of a handful of times that sheriff’s deputies had been called about domestic disputes between the couple.
But this one was different: Mesac Damas was taken into custody and a restraining order filed. The other children had been outside playing and were terrified by what had happened, a caseworker noted. In interviews, two of the older boys described seeing their parents fight regularly. The oldest, 9-year-old Michzach, told the caseworker that he would try to take all the children in a bedroom when the abuse happened. ”If he tries to call 911, dad hits him on the hand or in the head,” the file noted. When it was especially bad, Guerline Damas would sleep in her car. She hadn’t had an easy life — she immigrated to Florida from Haiti as a teenager after her father was murdered in their home. She went to high school and later found work in a Publix supermarket.
”What are you doing with this guy?” Dieu said the family told her when they learned about the abuse.
”You need to leave.”
The couple separated — for two months. Guerline Damas began counseling at a shelter for abused women. A caseworker noted she seemed overwhelmed at the thought of raising five children by herself. She started pushing for the restraining order to be lifted.
”She believes that a father should be with his children and she has faith in him, that he will not repeat domestic violence against his wife,” records from a visit in late March state.
Mesac Damas pleaded no contest to the battery charge and was given 12 months probation and ordered to take parenting classes and enroll in a battery intervention program. Around April, he moved back in. The family seemed to make progress. Mesac Damas said he was learning to control his anger and talk with the children more. The children said they had missed their father. The caseworker described observing a ”loving relationship” between the father and children.
”This clinician believes that this family will be a solid family unit once again,” the file states. —- Associated Press writer Jonathan M. Katz reported from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last modified Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:03 AM EST
Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child
By Tom Law
Source: The Toccoa Record
State Sen. Nancy Schaefer last week called for an overhaul of the state’s child protection services provided through the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS).
Among the recommendations by Schaefer, who represents the 50th District which includes Stephens County, was that a jury trial be held when a child is taken from their parents.
Schaefer also called for the requirement of a warrant signed by a judge before removing a child from their parents, except in an emergency situation such as a medical crisis.
“The Department of Family and Children’s Service, known as the Department of Child Protective Services in other states, has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families,”
Schaefer said in a lengthy e-mail…
“This is not to say there are not children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection,”
“This report is concerned with the children and parents caught in legal kidnapping, ineffective policies and DFCS that does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse.”
Schaefer offered as an example an unnamed county in her district where she met with 37 families to discuss the “gestapo” tactics of the DFCS.
“I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals and off school busses,”
“Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.”
Among Schaefer’s conclusions: