Hickey school resident dies after asthma-like attack

July 14, 1991|By Rafael Alvarez

A 17-year-old resident at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School for Boys died early Friday morning after suffering an attack of "asthma-like symptoms," according to a spokeswoman for the Cub Hill reformatory.

An autopsy has been scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.

The death of the teen-ager, who was not identified because of his age, has prompted the Public Justice Center, a local civil rights organization, to seek broader medical care for youths sentenced to the school by juvenile courts.

No nurse or doctor is on duty at the Hickey School from 11:30 p.m. until 7 a.m., although officials said a nurse is on call 24 hours a day.

The youth died after collapsing at the school at 12:40 a.m. Friday. He had been examined at two local hospitals earlier in the week and discharged to the care of Hickey officials.

"He was on asthma medication and had an inhaler," said Jacqueline Lampell, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, which operates the Hickey school.

"We were monitoring him every 10 minutes. At 12:30 [a.m.] he was fine. At 12:40 he was found on the floor of the infirmary," Ms. Lampell said.

A night supervisor and a security guard administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the boy until paramedics arrived at 1:02 a.m., she said.

The youth was declared dead at St. Joseph Hospital at 2:21 a.m., she said.

Michael A. Millemann, the president of the Public Justice Center, said his group will seek a meeting with Hickey officials to find out why there are no medical professionals on duty through the night.

"That is a gross violation of minimum medical standards for closed institutions," Mr. Millemann charged.

Ms. Lampell said: "It's our belief that the staff there gave [the victim] as much aid or care that a nurse would have. There is no indication that any better care could have been given."

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