Aiden Stein's Parents Sue Hospital For Negligence
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 2, 2005
MANSFIELD, OHIO--The parents of 17-month-old Aiden Stein, who are under suspicion for causing the boy's brain damage, sued a hospital and regional health department last week for injuring the boy through negligence.
Matt Stein and Arica Heimlich, both 22, are seeking $25,000 in compensatory damages for medical expenses and emotional distress from MedCentral Health System, which operates Mansfield Hospital, and the Mansfield-Ontario-Richland County Health Department.
According to the Associated Press, the couple filed the suit on April 22 in Richland County Common Pleas Court. In the past, they have asserted that Aiden's injuries occurred during his birth.
Aiden was admitted to Akron Children's Hospital on March 15, 2004 with injuries that doctors said were consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. They have maintained that the boy is blind, deaf, and in a persistent vegetative state. They argue that Aiden cannot recover from his injuries and that it would be in his best interest to remove the ventilator that keeps him alive. Doctors asked a court to appoint a temporary guardian, claiming that Aiden's parents had a conflict of interest because at least one of them could face criminal charges if the baby dies.
Police arrested Mr. Stein on April 8 of this year and charged him with felony assault and child endangerment for allegedly causing his baby son's brain damage. He has repeatedly denied injuring his son.
Prosecutors have not filed charges against Heimlich, but have not ruled her out as a suspect in causing earlier traumas that doctors say they have detected.
Aiden's parents argue that the child is alert, that he responds to them, opens his eyes, holds up his own head, follows sounds, and even sits up. They believe he will recover further if given more time.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in December that a lower court had no authority to appoint the temporary guardian to decide to end the child's life when the parents' rights had not yet been permanently terminated.
Permanent custody of Aiden will switch to the boy's paternal grandmother in June. Dawn Mansfield said that she plans to follow the wishes of Aiden's parents to have him remain on a ventilator as long as he needs it.
Aiden's parents have not been allowed to see him since they gave up their parental rights last month.
Cases like Aiden's highlight a growing debate over whether parents or doctors should decide the course of action when a child experiences a significant brain injury.
"Parents Of Aiden Stein Blame Hospital For Son's Injuries" (NewsNet5)
"Aiden Stein: Hospital Wants Baby's Life Support Removed" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)