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.”

Ivanna Saucedo, courtesy of David Saucedo II

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.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

22 replies on “El Paso Children’s Hospital Sued For Death of Three-Year Old”

  1. Good evening,
    I request full anonymity for the information I am sharing with you. I do not want to be named or identified, so please understand that.

    As a concerned citizen, paying taxes for the Children’s hospital, there’s a threatening situation driving the decisions of the hospital’s administration that’s not based on what’s best for the children of El Paso. The proof is in the death of that little girl in this article attached.

    Last week, the current group of board certified pediatric intensivists at Children’s were fired and the Canales PA group was given the contract to staff the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The very same people named in the lawsuit.
    That was a decision based on politics and money and not quality care for the children of El Paso which is what tax payers were promised upon building of the hospital.

    I thank you for your time.

  2. It is unfortunate what happened to this baby. However, I stand by Dr. Canales 100%. He has cared for both of my children, which both have had a serious health condition At some point in their lives. He’s not only taken excellent care of both of my children, but they both recovered 100%. He is an amazing, nurturing caring doctor and El Paso children have an amazing pediatrician.

  3. My daughter when as a child was under his care and was diagnosed with ADD, the prescribed medication was benadryl due to the amount of medication prescribed she was always drowsy and sleeping in class thus ended repeating the grade. A misdiagnosed and incorrectly prescribed medication and actually never was seen by Canales always nurse. He doesn’t care about the children its a money making scheme.

  4. It’s not about standing 100% blindly behind Dr. Canales it’s about the lack of medical care he provided this child. It shows he was negligent (he should have had a back-up doctor to call if he was not available). EPCH has had such a high turnover in personnel from CEO, administration staff, nursing and staff, this hospital should be taken over by Providence. I wonder how the doctors that backed him up like Drs. Moorthy, Yates, and Orlandi feel now that they signed off on him yet he is not Board Certified as a PICU intensivist. Dr. Canales needs to be held accountable for the death of this child. Like Cindy Stout said the doctors work at her pleasure at EPCH. I hope she is happy.

  5. How can Canales PA group take over the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in place of the board certified pediatric intensivists group at Children’s who were fired. Unbelievable… over children’s lifes. I rather fly or drive my sick children to Houston if need to. Mr. Cintron get a grip on this. Channel 7 investigate the ties to El Paso and Dr. Canales plz!!

  6. Please keep reporting on this. Doctors are Texas Tech doctors and residents are in the hospital 24/7 yet Canales can admit to himself and leave patients waiting to be seen. He is not board certified in anything yet continues to treat patients. Parents do not know the difference and now EPCH is letting him expand his access to patients. Don’t let this continue.

  7. Lamento mucho lo que pasó con esta niña, yo conozco a doctor Canales por 30 años el fue doctor de mis hijas ahora de todos mis nietos ,muy buen doctor y en este largo tiempo me di cuenta que ayuda a mucha gente que no tenía dinero para pagar ,admiro a doctor Canales si no fuera por el una de mis hija no estuviera viva.

  8. After a horrible 3 day hospital stay with my infant and not getting answers and results from our then pediatrician. I went to Dr. Canales for a second opinion he helped resolved the issue and cared for my infant. He also was able to properly diagnose my 9y/o when our previous pediatrician couldn’t. Dr. Canales along with Dr. Fierro Stevens have provided her with exceptional care. They have provided them with a better quality of life and have given me peace of mind and tranquility in the care of my children. I two was a patient of his 36 years ago when i was born until i turned 18. After my experience i realized going with Dr. Canales is worth the wait. My condolences for the family of this little girl I 🙏 to God to be with you during such difficult times.

  9. It is very unfortunate what happened to this beautiful little girl, however, Dr Canales has been around for 30+ years, he has had an exceptional reputation over those years. People who decide to take their children to be seen by him know how long the wait time is to see him. There are other Dr’s and Nurse Practitioner’s who can see patients, however some parents ONLY want their children to be seen by Dr Canales and they are willing to wait the wait times it takes to see him. If certain parents have problems with the wait times, then why keep taking them there? Dr Canales is a very busy Dr. He has 2 offices, he’s part of Providence Children’s and El Paso Children’s, you can’t expect him to be in all places at the same time. He has done an amazing job and does his very best for his patients. Unfortunately this happened to this little girl, but unfortunately every Dr has deaths happen and sometimes it’s unavoidable. This whole “he’s been misdiagnosing children for years” is ridiculous to say because if that was the case, then he would’ve been suspended from practicing medicine a very long time ago. There would have been so many other publicly made law suits against him but on the contrary, his reputation is a miracle worker. This lawsuit unfortunately is not going to bring this little girl back.

  10. This makes no sense! It’s a teaching hospital first and secondly there are 2 other hospitals closer to his office one literally across the street. I think maybe the parents picked the hospital. Whenever my kids have been sent from his office to the hospital I would go to providence and the drs office gave me paperwork to take in regards to what was going on. And they were treated immediately at the hospital I spent more time waiting for a room at the hospital.

  11. I can’t agree either 😞 Like with any doctor there are good experiences and very bad ones. I have known him all my life and now he treats my kids. I know others who have had completely different experiences in his 40+ years of practice and in cases similar to (or more complicated) this one. If you know him personally you know he is the most down to earth caring guy who has lived everyday working his butt off. All he does is work 24/7 and has no personal life. If someone with a career of 45+ years and with his level of experience and dedication does not qualify for that job then I don’t know who does. If he was such a threat to medical practice then how has he had such a fulfilling career and such love and support not only from our community but other cities as well. I’m truly really sorry for this family’s loss 😔. I get that he is much older now.. and that he had way too many patients to care for. If someone is not happy with him, there are other doctors to choose from. I just personally can’t agree with many nasty thing said in the article 😕.

  12. I been with canales over 27 years and he one of the best dr ever he save my brother life and specialy my son that canales saved my son 3 time he was almost dieing and thanks to god and canales my son still with me and since I been with canales canales always told us not to go to las Palmas or del sol or UMC
    Has all the time telling us he only told us to go to memorial that he will see us there and he did my respect to Canales thank you canales I will never change my kids to another dr at all well am live my dr will always be canales

  13. I am so sorry for their loss but I am a special needs mother and have left Drs office and hospitals for waiting over 45 min. I as the parent that I am would have taken my child elsewhere and not waited for anyone. I have never been a fan of Dr Canales because everyone seems to go have pic nics at his office for hrs. waiting to be seen. I as a parent would never ever allow any Dr to take 5 hrs to see my child. My time and my kids time is valuable to me. Their health is my priority.

  14. As a parent, you’re ultimately the responsible person for the child. The child goes where you take him/her. If you see your child in distress or a life threatening emergency, you’re not going to sit around and wait. This article paints the picture from the grieving parents point of view.

  15. I was a former patient of Canales. I remember always feeling unsafe around him. I absolutely hated having to go see him. Part of it being the ridiculously long wait, but also because I seriously got a bad vibe off of him. With that aside, he misdiagnosed me several times. I was always ill, I was constantly getting colds, flus, bronchitis, and yeah he’d prescribed me meds and I’d get better but it took a long time to get over it. My parents always begged him to do extensive bloodwork and he always said “no she’s not that sick some kids just get sick more than others it’ll be good for her immune system when she gets older”. Aside from that, there were other issues that ailed me and again he’d say I was either faking it for attention or that it was normal and It’d work itself out. Fast forward to when I’m 21 and diagnosed with Lupus and I’m told this explains why I was always so sick as a child. My mom took Canales the blood work and he looked at it and said “nope she doesn’t have lupus they have to do a biopsy”, so she pulls that paper out and shows it to him and he still insists the results are wrong.
    Unfortunately he’s not the only Dr in El Paso that should be sued!!!!

  16. If Texas Tech was competent – not good – just competent – El Paso Children’s Hospital would not have to lure Canales away from Memorial campus. Texas Tech Pediatric clinics, inpatient pediatrics, Neonatal service and Pedi ICU service are marginal at best – there are probably close to 100 Tech Pediatricians + Neonatologists + Intensivists – and all 100 of them together don’t see as many patients as a single Dr. Canales – which created/creates the low patient census at El Paso Children’s and the need to recruit a single Dr. Canales.

    There’s a reason he has the largest pediatric practice in El Paso – he’s earned it. He’s not Board Certified in Pediatric Intensive Care or Hematology-Oncology while most, but not all of the Tech Pediatricians are Board Certified in their respective specialties – I hope this gives you an idea of what Board Certification actually gets you – what it actually means (it doesn’t mean S#$t!). Canales’s patient population outnumbers his board-certified colleageus almost 10 to 1. His 45 years of practice, his reputation and his patient population are what got him privileges at El Paso Childrens/EPCH.

    Most El Paso parents have 2 pediatricians – you go to your Board-Certified Texas Tech Pediatrician for your shots/physical and you go to Canales when you’re sick, when you need to be admitted, when you need to be in the ICU, and if you have leukemia. Canales has earned his reputation – and it makes those of us who have known him for 45 years heart broken that this tragic death will tarnish his reputation and his legacy.

  17. Acad4321 if board certification does mean s#$t! Then every major children’s hospital in the US is wrong in requiring it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a busy practice but there is also a reason truck drivers are allowed to drive a certain number of hours and why pilots are allowed to fly a certain number of hours and that is fatigue. Same applies in healthcare. Regarding TTTECH, they have phenomenal physicians but hard to get in.

  18. Best doctor ever he is treating my son with cancer has treated past family and friends kids who are still alive and even my son who was at picu I so side by him

  19. Lamentablemente el mundo medico tambien se preocupa por ganancias y esas vienen de la cantidad de pacientes que “traiga” un doctor a un hospital. La comunidad de El Paso es muy humilde, creyente y poco exigente. Acuden a un doctor -sin siquiera preguntarse cual es su especialidad o acreditaciones- para que milagrosamente cure a sus seres queridos. Dr Canales no es un mal ser humano y lo que hace, lo hace por ayudar a la gente pero SI ES CIERTO que interviene en asuntos que no son su area de experticia y termina haciendo malos diagnosticos y puede causar daños a los niños. Tambien es cierto que hace esperar por horas y horas -lo cual tambien es una falta de respeto con el paciente y la familia. Esa forma de ejercer medicina antigua en la que el medico es el Dios y hay que esperar por el ya no esta vigente. Creo que Dr Canales debe aprender a no intervenir y referir a los pacientes cuando no son de su area y tambien debe establecer una practica mas respetuosa en cuanto a tiempos de espera y atencion.

  20. Hola, hace 15 años a mi hijo le diagnosticaron Leucemia, de un tipo muy agresivo, Gracias a Dios nos recomendaron al Dr. Canales, el lo salvo, sus diagnosticos y sus tratamientos fueron mucho muy certeros y hoy puedo decir que el le salvo la vida. Siempre estaré eternamente agradecido con el.

  21. Dr de mis hijos, de mis sobrinos y de tantos hijos de conocidos, yo solo puedo decir cosas buenas de el; es cierto q tenemos q esperar en su oficina p q atienda pero en muchísimos dres. Pasa igual,pero tambien yo creo no lo cambio por nada el mejor pediatra, y si a algunos no les gusta esperar existen mas dres . Por los q se pueden cambiar. Mi apoyo y agradecimiento siempre al dr canales.

Comments are closed.