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Husband and father of TB victims speaks out, plans to file lawsuit


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Husband and father of TB victims speaks out, plans to file lawsuit

By Stacey Gualandi. CREATED Nov 7, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Ruben White is still in shock following the deaths of his wife and twin daughters. His attorneys said Summerlin Hospital should have diagnosed the White family with tuberculosis, and will be filing a lawsuit. 

"There's a sense of emptiness that I have," said Ruben White.

Appearing with photographs of his wife Vanessa and twin daughters Abigail and Emma, White remains in shock over their deaths, "At 29, when everything happened, I thought my future was set. I never thought I'd be going through this."

His wife was admitted to Summerlin Hospital in May to deliver their twins. At the time, she had persistent symptoms of 103 degree fever, fatigue and coughing, but went undiagnosed for tuberculosis.  

"I love kids but the hardest thing for me is when all is said and done and the parties are over, I have to go to a cemetery to visit mine," said an emotional White.  

His daughter Abigail died in June; Vanessa died in July and Emma died in August. 

Attorneys for Ruben White gave the media a comprehensive report on Thursday.  It lays out what may be the early stages of a potential civil lawsuit. 

White's attorney Robert Cottle said, "It was an entire system's failure. It was the perfect storm of bad health care."

As an investigation continues by OSHA and the health district, Robert Cottle said health care officials, including a Summerlin nurse who had ruled out a TB screening, never connected the dots. 

He added, "Findings for diagnosing TB were evident on admission on multiple occasions but no diagnosis was made."

Now White's attorneys said those at fault need to be held accountable. Their case would be concluded by the spring of 2015.   

"The public trust will take some time to restore. These folks have the ability and the means to re-engage the public trust with the right procedures in place," said Cottle.

In the meantime, White warns everyone to be careful with your own health care, "Life is not fair and it's hard to cope with this. My only hope would be that nobody goes through this."

The health district declined to comment  at this time.

This is the statement from Summerlin Hospital:

"We wish to express our deepest sympathies to Mr. White and his family. Summerlin Hospital is committed to providing the highest level of care, and to provide a safe environment for its patients and visitors. We use nationally recognized protocols to prevent the spread of infection and we are confident we did so in this case. Medical experts who have already reviewed this matter have confirmed there was no reason to suspect that the patient had TB and an appropriate screening was performed. We have cooperated fully, and will continue to do, with the Southern Nevada Health District of Public and Behavioral Health."