Rochester Man Charged With Neglect in Death of Young Son
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester man has been charged with child neglect in connection with the death of his 3-year-old son earlier this year.
44-year-old Darius Pitchford is accused of removing his child from the Emergency Department at the Olmsted Medical Center against medical advice in the early morning hours of February 14th. Rochester police were called to the family's home about four hours later after the boy's mother found him dead.
The criminal complaint states that the doctors and other staff at the emergency department found the child looking pale, lethargic, and dehydrated upon his arrival with his father. Medical records indicate the father initially refused to allow the medical professionals to do blood work on the victim, but later relented and the testing found a high white blood cell count along with "dangerous electrolyte problems that could affect his heart" and signs of kidney failure.
Before an order for x-rays and other tests could be fulfilled, one of the witnesses in the emergency department told investigators that Pitchford maintained that he was being lied to and wanted to leave "against medical advice without further medical intervention." The court documents say the discharge paperwork noted, "Return to the ER as soon as possible. Your child may die." The witness also told investigators that he urged Pitchford to leave the boy at the hospital and told him that he could die.
An autopsy determined the young child died due to complications of a type of congenital hernia that can intestinal blockages. The criminal complaint indicates the condition is detectable by an x-ray exam and would require emergency surgery.
Last month, the mother of the child filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Olmsted Medical Center. Court records show OMC responded with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on November 4. That request is still pending.