The family of Nevaeh Hernandez, the six-year-old North Bergen kindergartner who died from the flu, held a press conference this afternoon to alert parents about how devestating certain strains of the flu can be.
Their attorney Louis Zayas explained at the William V. Musto Cultural Center in Union City that Nevaeh’s mother, Stephanie Riviera, and grandmother, Sandra Riviera, rushed her to the emergency room of the Hoboken University Medical Center when she exhibited high fever symptoms.
According to Zayas, and to the family’s bewilderment, a physician’s assistant and a certified nurse checked Nevaeh after the family waited several hours for attention, also claiming that a medical doctor did not treat the young girl’s 105 degree fever.
During the question and answer session with the media, Hudson County View asked to clarify the claim that a medical doctor didn’t treat Nevaeh.
“During the entire time that Nevaeh was at Hoboken University Medical Center, the family never saw a medical doctor. They saw a physician’s assistant and a certified nurse, but no doctor. I believe approximately from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., when Nevaeh was discharged, the family didn’t see a doctor,” answered Zayas.
Furthermore, Zayas emphatically noted at the beginning of the press conference that the purpose was not to discuss any future litigation, but to let other parents know about potential warning signs.
“The reason for this conference is not to talk about whether Nevaeh could have survived if she had been properly diagnosed, but rather to let all parents know how deadly this particular strain of the flu is and how important it is for a doctor, and not a physician’s assistant, to diagnose and treat a child as soon as possible,” Zayas said.
Additionally, Zayas said Nevaeh visited the family doctor just in January for the explicit purpose of receiving a flu shot.
Zayas was asked by another reporter if he expects to inevitably file a lawsuit after he does an investigation of the causes that contributed to Nevaeh’s death.
“I’ve been hired to investigate and advise as to the possibility of such a lawsuit. But that determination is still ongoing because I just don’t jump the gun unless I have all the facts. I was just hired yesterday and I have to review all the medical reports; just because something like this has happened doesn’t necessarily mean that the hospital is at fault,” Zayas said.
“But we do believe that there is enough evidence that this was preventable. That’s my goal right now … to investigate,” he continued.
Jennifer Morrill, a spokeswoman for CarePoint Health, the company who owns the Hoboken University Medical Center, offered condolences to the family and said the hospital is cooperating fully with the state’s investigation into Hernandez’s passing.
“We join the entire Hudson County community in mourning the tragic death of Nevaeh Hernandez. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends. While privacy laws strictly prohibit our commenting on individual patient conditions, testing, or treatments, Hoboken University Medical Center meticulously follows all CDC guidelines and protocol related to the flu or possible flu cases,” she said in an email.”
“Hoboken University Medical Center will of course be fully cooperating with the state DOH in their mandatory review of all hospital records, charts, and lab testing in cases of pediatric flu deaths.”