Today, David Saucedo II and his wife, Mariana filed a lawsuit against the El Paso Children’s Hospital and doctors, Roberto Canales and Rodolfo Fierro-Stevens for “grossly negligent care provided by EPCH, EPCH’s staff, and in particular Dr. Roberto Canales.” The 100-page lawsuit details the allegations that led to the death of their three-year-old daughter.
According to the lawsuit, the Saucedo’s took their daughter to Dr. Canales’ offices at 5:20 p.m. on August 29, 2019. Although they had an appointment for 5:20, the Saucedo’s were forced to wait until 8:34 p.m., when the doctor’s office instructed the parents to take their child to the emergency room at the El Paso Children’s Hospital. Although the child was vomiting and had a prior medical condition that the doctor was treating, without seeing the child, Dr. Canales ordered the parents to go the emergency room, promising that he would follow them to the hospital.
Upon arriving at the emergency room, the Saucedo’s were “abruptly removed” from the emergency room and taken to a hospital room. The children’s hospital staff informed the parents that “only” Dr. Canales could treat their daughter.
Although the parents pleaded with hospital staff hourly to treat their daughter, they “ignored Saucedo’s plea for help.” Dr. Canales never arrived that night and no treatment was provided to their daughter by the children’s hospital staff, that day.
The Next Day
The hospital staff assured the parents at 6:05 the next morning that the doctor would arrive “within the hour.” “At 8:15 a.m. – almost twelve hours after the Saucedos arrived at EPCH —I.S. [the daughter] went limp, turned blue, and began to foam from the mouth.”
It wasn’t until after the Saucedo’s pressed the emergency button that the staff at the El Paso Children’s Hospital “finally agreed to intervene and treat” their daughter. Dr. Canales arrived at 9:00 a.m.
Although their daughter was “lying in a coma,” Dr. Canales and Dr. Fierro-Stevens “assured the Saucedos that they had no doubts” their daughter would soon “wake up”. However, their daughter’s condition deteriorated.
On August 31, 2019, the doctors informed the parents that their daughter was “brain dead”. She died on September 2, 2019 at 10:45 a.m.
The Saucedos allege in their lawsuit that Dr. Canales “has been misdiagnosing and injuring children across El Paso for decades; he is a danger to the El Paso community, and he is unqualified and untrained in the area of Pediatric Intensive Care medicine.”
According to the lawsuit, “unable to turn a profit, EPCH’s administration turned to Dr. Canales — a doctor regarded by the El Paso community as a ‘miracle worker,’ who garnered millions of dollars each year in revenue through reputation, an aggressive marketing campaign and large scale public health clinics with media exposure, allowing him to obtain a large patient roster.”
The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Canales was hired by the children’s hospital even though “several EPCH medical directors and managing doctors refused to provide an exemption” because the doctor did not meet the standards as set forth by the children’s hospital bylaws.
Doctors at EPCH warned the hospital “that Dr. Canales posed a danger to EPCH’s patients without the necessary training and credentialing”. Doctors at the children’s hospital were also threatened with “termination when they refused to sign the waiver” allowing Dr. Canales to provide services at the hospital in violation of the hospital’s standards.
The doctors were also told they could not treat Dr. Canales’ patients because the doctor had “the exclusive right to treat and bill his patients and their insurers”.
The lawsuit includes three expert witness affidavits against the two doctors and the children’s hospital detailing medical failures in the treatment of the child.
The affidavit of Thomas Mayes, the interim chair of the El Paso Children’s Hospital’s Department of Pediatrics (2018-2019) states that Dr. Mayes was “startled to see the poor quality” of Dr. Canales’ medical records.
In his affidavit, Dr. Mayes lays out how the El Paso Children’s Hospital specifically bypassed standards and procedures because the hospital needed the revenues generated by the patients brought in by Dr. Canales. Although Dr. Mayes refused to sign off on Canales, the children’s hospital bypassed him to bring Dr. Canales onboard.
Dr. Mayes goes on to state that after reviewing the medical records of the child “that Dr. Canales repeatedly violated pediatric standards of care, misdiagnosed the patient, and committed gross medical malpractice in treating” the little girl.
Mayes closes his affidavit with “Dr. Canales presents a real danger to his patients and should be removed from the practice of medicine.”
The lawsuit also points out that the children’s hospital admitted to withholding “damaging” medical records from the Saucedos blaming on a “computer system error”.
The El Paso Politics will continue to monitor this case and bring updates as they become available.