TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - A 3-year-old special needs child has been taken off life support after an incident at a health facility in Ponchatoula.
The Ponchatoula Police Department says on Tuesday, September 11, they responded to a call from the Pediatric Health Choice on Veterans, not far from North Oaks Hospital around 12:50 p.m. about an unresponsive 3-year-old boy. Facility personnel say they found the child wrapped up in the harness of his wheelchair, unresponsive. Officers then arrived on scene to find the child had been removed from the wheelchair and was being given CPR by staff members. The child was then transported to a local hospital in Hammond and later transferred to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where he was later put on life support.
The Ponchatoula police chief confirmed the child was taken off life support and died Thursday afternoon.
“It appears they had a worker there watching two of the children. It’s all in an open space room. The child was not abandoned in a private room or anything, and the worker claimed that she may have been away from the child for anywhere from one to three minutes,” said Ponchatoula Police Chief Bry Layrisson.
The family of the boy says they aren’t holding the daycare responsible for what happened while the chief asks everyone to hold off on passing judgement on the facility until a full investigation can be conducted.
Detectives are actively investigating the situation and say they have been in contact with the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says they are waiting for a report from the facility, which must be submitted within 24 hours of any such incident.
According to the facility’s website, they are a “premier provider of alternative-site health care services for medically complex, technology-dependent and behaviorally challenged children.”