Parents Of Middle School Boy File Wrongful Death Suit

The Bakersfield Californian - November 13, 2015

After nine months the parents of 13-year-old Jose Manuel Beltran are filing a wrongful death lawsuit to get answers about the death of their son. The Delano Union School District, the City of Delano, the State of California and 5 school employees have all been named in the suit.

Trouble started when Jose Manuel Beltran collapsed during his gym class. The gym teacher called the school nurse, who was working at another school, who instructed the gym teacher to call 911. Time passed and the nurse, a Ms. Clines, was again called and informed that the student was no longer breathing, again she instructed that the gym teacher call 911 immediately. When, finally, 911 was called (it is unclear at this point whether the gym teacher eventually made the call or Ms. Clines decided to call herself) it was mistakenly routed to a private emergency service in Canada first before eventually being routed to the Delano Police Department main line, where it was put on hold until someone at the main line could take the call.

An autopsy report revealed that Beltran suffered hypertropic cardiomyopathy and died when he heart was unable to pump blood to the rest of his body. Ms. Clines says that when she finally arrived on the scene, no one had administered CPR and that the boy was turned over on his front. 

The outcome of the Beltrans’ case will largely depend on whether or not it can be proven that the combination of delayed 911 care on the scene and the inability of the gym teacher to administer CPR ultimately led to the boy’s death. However, if it is found that this would have made no difference in saving his life it is unlikely that the parents of Jose Manuel Beltran will be able to win compensation.    

Steven Mayer