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updated: 10/20/2012 5:36 PM

Suit says hospital mistakenly declared boy dead

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Associated Press

The parents of an 8-year-old boy have sued a Chicago hospital, alleging doctors pronounced their son dead though he was still alive and refused to listen to desperate relatives who insisted he continued to move his eyes and body.

The lawsuit, filed this week, accuses Mercy Hospital and Medical Center of negligence and alleges that nearly five hours passed before staff agreed to perform a cardiac ultrasound, which showed Jaylen Dorsey's heart was beating.

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"You didn't have to be a doctor to see that the heart was pumping blood," the boy's father, Pink Dorsey, said at a news conference Friday.

Hospital officials deny the allegations.

Jaylen, who has a disability that keeps him bedridden and on a ventilator, was found unresponsive by his mother, Sheena Lane, on Feb. 18. He was taken to Mercy Hospital and doctors there pronounced the boy dead.

The family says Jaylen's eyes continued to flick open, but that his parents were told the lingering effects of medicine were causing that to happen.

"We're not doctors, so we just went along with what they told us," Dorsey said.

So family members began to plan a funeral for the boy.

But when other relatives arrived at the hospital, they gasped when they saw Jaylen's eyes opening, the boy's father said.

The lawsuit says the family had to demand that medical staff conduct more tests and that a cardiac ultrasound finally showed the boy's heart was beating.

The hospital, which rejects the lawsuit's allegations, said in a written statement that Jaylen arrived at the hospital after suffering full cardiac arrest for 25 minutes and doctors treated him for "an extended period of time" before declaring him dead.

"Despite extensive resuscitative efforts, Jaylen did not immediately regain a pulse and no heart activity was noted for several hours," the hospital said. "... While this is a very rare occurrence, extensive resuscitation efforts, medication and young age can result in a patient's heart function returning spontaneously. We hope for continued strength for Jaylen."

His parents are seeking $200,000 in damages. The lawsuit says they suffered hours of "severe emotional distress."

The boy's parents also worry that the hours he was off his respirator while at the hospital may have worsened his condition.

Lawyer for the parents said that because of the ongoing litigation they would not release details about his disability.

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