Thomson family says baby died after EMS workers refused hospital transport

By: Carter Coyle Email
By: Carter Coyle Email
Baby dies in Thomson

Parents Marion Few and Lana Bell claim EMS workers refused to take their baby to the hospital, and by the time her father could get her there, it was too late. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 2, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011

MCDUFFIE COUNTY, Ga. -- A Thomson family is searching for answers after their 2-month-old daughter died over the weekend.

Parents Marion Few and Lana Bell claim EMS workers refused to take the baby to the hospital, and by the time her father could get her there, it was too late.

"I didn't get the chance to teach her how to walk," said Few as he and his girlfriend looked through their packet of new parent information from the hospital.

They got it just two and a half months ago when their daughter Leanna was born. Inside the folder is Leanna's birth certificate showing stamps of her two tiny feet.

"It's just sad because we could have had bigger footprints from her too," Bell said.

Baby Leanna died Saturday, and her parents say they still don't know why.

"When I first got up, I was laying on my bed and looking at my daughter. She was breathing funny," he said. "Then white stuff started coming out her nose and mouth."

Few called 911 and EMS workers came to their house. He says they told both him and his sister the baby was fine.

"My sister said, 'You need to take her to the hospital.' She was mad because they kept refusing, 'No we're not gonna take her to the hospital. She's OK. She just had gas.'"

Few's mother, Williemae Few, was at the store when Marion called them to explain what was wrong with the baby. She says as soon as she saw the baby girl she knew something was very wrong.

"Gas? Come on, now. You see milky stuff coming out of the baby's nose and mouth. Breathing slowly like -- whew, whew, whew. Gasping for air. First thing you should have said is, 'Come on, we're taking your baby to the hospital.'"

She blames first responders for not acting immediately.

The Few family decided to leave for McDuffie Regional hospital on their own, where doctors worked to help Leanna breathe. She died before they could airlift her to GHS Medical Center.

"I feel as though if they'd gone ahead and taken her to the hospital, our baby girl would still been here," Bell said.

G.B.I. Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers says their agency is investigating the death. He points out that the G.B.I. frequently investigates infant deaths, however, and their involvement does not necessarily indicate any criminal fault.

Coroner Rhusha Mack told News 12 the initial autopsy was inconclusive, and the medical examiner with the G.B.I. lab in Augusta might not determine a cause of death for several days. Mack was tracking down the baby's medical history records Wednesday morning.

Thomson EMS officials did not respond to requests for information.

Leanna's grandmother says someone is at fault in this situation.

"I want to know what happened to that baby. My grandbaby. We're not gonna stop until we get justice," she said.

Now, their family is left with only pictures to remember little Leanna.

"It hurts. It really hurts," Few said.


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