Rochester, Minnesota (News KROC-AM) – A Rochester man has been charged with child neglect in connection with the death of his 3-year-old son earlier this year.
Darius Pitchford, 44, is accused of removing his child from the emergency department at Olmsted Medical Center against medical advice in the early morning hours of February 14. Rochester police were called to the family’s home about four hours later after the boy’s mother found him dead.
The criminal complaint says doctors and other emergency department staff found the child pale, lethargic and dehydrated when he arrived with his father. Medical records indicate that the father initially refused to allow medical professionals to run blood tests on the victim, but then relented and tests revealed a high white blood cell count as well as “problems with blood.” dangerous electrolytes that could affect his heart” and signs of kidney failure. .
Before an order for X-rays and other tests could be carried out, one of the witnesses from the emergency department told investigators that Pitchford had maintained that he had been lied to and that he wanted to leave “against medical advice. without further medical intervention”. Court documents say the discharge papers read: “Go back to the emergency room as soon as possible. Your child may die.” The witness also told investigators he urged Pitchford to leave the boy in hospital and told him he could die.
An autopsy determined that the young child had died from complications from a type of congenital hernia that can cause intestinal blockages. The criminal complaint says the condition is detectable by X-ray examination and would require emergency surgery.
Last month, the child’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Olmsted Medical Center. Court records show that the WTO responded with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on November 4. This request is still pending.