Judge denies Olmsted Medical Center's motion to dismiss in toddler wrongful death lawsuit

Apr. 11—ROCHESTER — A district court judge is allowing a lawsuit against Olmsted Medical Center for the

wrongful death of 3-year-old D'Angelo Pavlovic Pitchford

to move forward following a motion to dismiss earlier this year.

The plaintiff in the case, Andreja Pavlovic, alleges that OMC and Dr. Luke Hunter had an obligation to report the boy's father, Darius Dwayne Pitchford, to police for failing to heed doctor's warnings during a February 2022 visit to OMC that D'Angelo could die.

In her order, District Judge Pamela King ruled that, Pavlovic had presented a case that, if true, would entitle her to relief from the defendants.

Attorneys for Hunter and OMC denied that the doctor or the center were required to report suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement, a claim denied by King in her order that cited an affidavit filed by Pavlovic's attorney that Dr. Robert Reardon, an expert in emergency medicine, would testify that OMC and the Hunter breached the "standard of care," which led to the death of D'Angelo.

D'Angelo died Feb. 14, 2022, due to complications of paraduodenal hernia, a rare type of hernia. His father is alleged to have ignored medical advice and brought D'Angelo home despite the boy's blood work showing possible kidney failure.

The Minnesota statutes Pavlovic cites in her lawsuit mention possible criminal, but not civil, liabilities for failures to report. Pavlovic argues that common law, or laws based on court decisions as opposed to codes or laws, gives her the right to seek relief due to the hospital's failure to report.

Hunter and OMC disputed that claim, but King ultimately sided with Pavlovic's stance.

The Olmsted County Attorney's Office has also

charged Pitchford with felony neglect of a child

related to his son's death a month after Pavlovic filed her lawsuit. Pitchford is expected to appear May 24, 2023, for his next hearing.

No hearing is set for the civil case, though a scheduling order is expected to be issued soon.