$23 million claim against TUSD: 9 year old boy suffered brain injury on a school playground
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The 23 million dollar claim against TUSD after a boy fell off a playground slide. A fall -- so bad -- that 4th grader Trevor Pahl needed emergency brain surgery. It happened at Fruchthendler Elementary back in August.
We all know children can get hurt on playground equipment -- accidents happen -- but, according to Trevor's mother, Danette Pahl, it's what the school didn't do that prompted her to file the multi-million dollar claim.
Pahl said her 4th grade son, Trevor, while playing tag, jumped off the crowded slide. "So rather than hurt the child in front of him, he jumped." And landed on a concrete slab -- directly below.
Pahl said the school's health aide called her and told her this: "There had been an accident and that my son had hit his head -- that he was bleeding and didn't need stitches -- that TUSD policy was that I had to pick him up from school and I may want to take him to a doctor."
Pahl didn't sense any urgency, but when she got to the school she saw her son in a wheelchair -- in and out of consciousness -- with a bloody gash on the left side of his head. "I was shocked that they didn't call an ambulance. I filled out the paperwork at the school registration that in the event of an emergency you call and get medical care," she said.
She said she rushed Trevor to the hospital and discovered that he broke his wrist and needed emergency brain surgery to save his life. "He had approximately the size of a softball, a section of his skull removed, because they were not sure where the bleeding was from." 37 staples closed up the wound.
KGUN9 checked the playground. The concrete section is now completely covered with wood chips.
Pahl claims TUSD failed to maintain the playground equipment, supervise students, and properly care for her son. She says her son has received extensive treatment and therapy. Pahl says that his brain injury carries the likelihood of permanent damage.
KGUN9 reached out to TUSD for comment. TUSD spokeswoman Cara Rene sent this response:
"TUSD follows national guidelines for safety procedures and the purchasing and construction of equipment as outlined in the Public Playground Safety Handbook from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The district's School Health Services Department has protocols that schools follow for major incidents, including calling 911 for loss of consciousness or other issues.
The claim has been referred to outside counsel and the district cannot comment further at this time."