BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s been nearly a year, and Sherry Robinson is still grieving.
In May of last year, Robinson lost her daughter, 7-year-old Kamiya Dufermeau, when she died following a routine surgery at Children’s of Alabama, a pediatric hospital in Birmingham.
But grieving, Robinson said on Wednesday, has no time limit.
This week, a judge ordered Children’s of Alabama to hand over documents, including Kamiya’s medical records, in her mother’s wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital. The order comes after lawyers for Robinson said in a court filing that Children’s of Alabama has not responded to any requests for documents related to the case since it was filed last year.
“Plaintiff has made multiple attempts to address this outstanding discovery with Children’s without involving the court,” Robinson’s legal team said in a court filing. “Nonetheless, Children’s has failed to answer the discovery despite providing assurances that it would do so. Children’s has not even produced a copy of the medical record on Plaintiff’s deceased child.”
Robinson’s lawsuit claims that doctors at Children’s of Alabama “failed to meet the applicable standards of care in diagnosing and treating Kamiya” after she had a routine appendectomy in April 2021. That failure of care, the suit says, led to Kamiya’s death.
Kamiya Dufermeau, whose family called her “Cookie” and “Princess,” became sick in mid-April 2021 and was diagnosed with appendicitis. After more conservative, nonsurgical interventions did not improve her condition, Dr. Colin Martin, who is affiliated with Children’s of Alabama, performed a laparoscopic appendectomy on her.
About a week later, Kamiya still felt tired and weak. On May 4, Kamiya’s mother brought her daughter to Dr. Theresa Bolus, a physician at Midtown Pediatrics, a facility run by Children’s. Bolus diagnosed the child with pinworms and sent her home. She did not conduct a physical exam, according to Robinson’s suit.
The day after Kamiya’s doctor’s visit, her grandmother called 911, and paramedics arrived to find the girl without a pulse. She was brought to Children’s of Alabama where doctors “performed four rounds of pediatrics advanced life support,” according to the lawsuit. Their efforts were not successful.
An autopsy conducted by Jefferson County Coroner & Medical Examiner’s Office showed that Kamiya died “because of an undiagnosed and untreated postsurgical bowel complication,” according to court documents.
Children’s of Alabama and Drs. Bolus and Martin, who are also named in the suit, have denied responsibility for Kamiya’s death in court filings. In separate responses to the suit, the hospital and the two doctors denied responsibility for her death and argued that the state’s wrongful death law violates the constitution.
A trial in the case has tentatively been set for 2023. Representatives for Children’s of Alabama refused to comment for this story.
“Due to the federal privacy rules, Children’s of Alabama does not comment on a report of litigation,” a representative of the hospital said in a written statement.
This week’s order, signed by Judge Jim Hughey III, said the hospital has until April 29 to respond to Robinson’s discovery requests.
Kamiya’s mother is set to be deposed in the case on May 9, just a few days short of the one-year anniversary of her daughter’s untimely death.
“Never let nobody tell you how to grieve,” She said earlier this week. “Just know that God will never leave or forsake you. And will never put more on you than you can handle. Continue to rest, Kamiya.”