A non-verbal Kansas City man with cerebral palsey died of a lung infection shortly after being transferred to a medical facility where he did not have access to the treatment frequently used to clear his airways, according to a Jackson County Circuit Court lawsuit.

Now his family is suing for negligence.

Thomas Wilson of Kansas City suffered from cerebral palsey and required treatment to prevent against infection. But while being transferred into long-term care, he was not given access to his regular treatment and died shortly after, said a lawsuit filed by family of Wilson on April 7.

The family is requesting the case be heard by a jury.

A spokesperson for Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City said they are unable to comment on the case because their legal team has not received all the court documents as of Wednesday afternoon.

The Life Care Center of Grandview was not able to immediately respond to requests for comment.

‘Necessary care’

Starting in 2019, Wilson’s doctor placed him on a plan to prevent him from breathing food or liquid into his lungs. For 20 minutes everyday, his aunt and a nurse strapped a compression vest to his chest and cleared his airways.

But about two years later Wilson’s caregivers grew ill. No longer able to receive regular treatment, he was admitted to Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

At the time, on April 8, 2021, Wilson’s lungs were clear. He had no issues breathing and was in good health, according to the lawsuit.

Two to three times each day Wilson was treated with the compression vest. He remained in the hospital for 11 days.

Wilson was discharged from the hospital on April 18, 2021, and transported to the Life Care Center of Grandview to receive long-term care.

Wilson’s family allege the nursing facility did not receive instructions for Wilson’s treatment, leaving him without a compression vest to clear his airways.

They contend that Saint Luke’s did not provide Wilson’s new caregivers with a discharge packet outlining his required care. Hospital staff were also aware that Wilson was incapable of communicating his care needs due to his illness, according to the lawsuit.

“Saint Luke’s did not call, communicate, or otherwise ensure in any way that Life Care Center for Grandview was providing the necessary care,” the lawsuit said.

Five days after he was admitted, Wilson started to suffer from aspiration pneumonia, an infection of the airways caused by either food or liquid being breathed into the lungs.

He died on April 24, 2021.

Both Saint Luke’s Hospital and the Life Care Center of Grandview are being sued for negligence.

Wilson’s family are seeking relief for medical and funeral expenses as well as their anxieties and emotional suffering resulting from the death.

The next hearing in the wrongful death case is scheduled for July 31 in Jackson County Circuit Court.

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