To test a science experiment, 13-year-old Adilene Carrasco walked with her classmates about 300 meters to the college sports field on October 31, 2019.
To celebrate Halloween, the class at Mesa View Middle School in Calimesa, Calif., held a “pumpkin contest,” where students tested their throwers to see how far a pumpkin could travel, according to the plaintiff’s brief filed in July 2020. in San Bernadino County State Superior Court.
Before she could test her pitcher, Adilene suffered an asthma attack as she returned to her classroom to retrieve her inhaler. The attack continued as she returned to the field and then made her way to the nurse’s office, according to the trial brief.
She died a few days after being taken to hospital.
Adilene’s family filed a lawsuit against the Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District in July 2020, Angela Bailey, director of public relations for Panish Shea Boyle Ravipudi LLP, told McClatchy News.
A week before the trial was scheduled to start, the school district settled the lawsuit with Adilene’s family for $15.75 million, according to Bailey.
“Adilene’s death was a preventable tragedy that resonates with and reaffirms the fear of every parent and caregiver of a child with asthma,” attorney Robert Glassman said in a press release.
Neither the Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified School District nor its attorney immediately responded to McClatchy News’ Nov. 21 request for comment.
Adilene’s mother, Edith Sepulveda, said the trial “was not for the money“, according to The Press Enterprise.
“It’s about not letting this happen to another family, so that no other family has to go through what we’re going through,” Sepulveda told the newspaper. “You need to be able to take your kids to school and know they’ll come back to you.”
The day of the attack
On the day of the asthma attack, Adilene asked her teacher for permission to return to her classroom to retrieve her inhaler from her backpack because she ‘began to have difficulty breathing’, according to the trial brief. . The teacher told her she could bring a friend.
The two men walked to campus, according to the trial brief. Although she took a few puffs from the inhaler, “it didn’t help her feel any better,” according to her friend, the trial memoir states.
The two girls then returned to the field, according to the trial brief. Adilène asked permission to go to the infirmary because “she was not feeling well and her inhaler was not helping her”.
At this point, “Adilene was unable to sit up straight and her voice was shaky and hissing,” her friend testified in a deposition, according to the trial brief.
The teacher granted her permission to go to the nurse with a friend, according to the trial brief. As the two headed back to campus, Adilene’s condition worsened, her friend said.
“At one point, she could no longer stand up and had to be supported,” says her friend. “She was breathing really hard in a way, like, breathless, and her voice was kind of unclear, if that’s a good way to describe it. It wasn’t clear enough to understand what she was saying.
A campus monitor in a golf cart came across the pair and noticed Adilene’s condition, according to the trial memoir.
“She looked tired, and when she said she needed help, she…the words didn’t really come out. She just said it,” the campus monitor said, according to the trial brief. “And when she got in the golf cart, she kind of collapsed on my chest.”
The school nurse picked up Adilene, brought her to the back room, began performing CPR and called 911, according to the trial brief. Meanwhile, the nurse thought she saw signs that Adilene was having a seizure.
Adilene was taken to hospital “where she remained unconscious and unresponsive”.
“Adilene was tragically declared brain dead nine days later, on November 9, 2019, after suffering acute respiratory failure,” according to the trial brief.
The trial brief said the district was negligent in following its safety protocols in response to Adilene’s asthma attack, failing to properly train staff in district safety protocols and speculating that ‘Adilene may have died of an allergic reaction.
“This senseless tragedy results from the school district’s negligence in failing to properly assess, assess and treat Adilene’s asthma attack.”
Adilene had a history of asthma which was noted in the school’s electronic database, according to the trial record. In the months leading up to her fatal asthma attack, she had two documented attacks.
The trial memoir says her teacher failed to follow school safety protocols, specifically one for when “a student has ‘breathing difficulties,’” according to the trial memoir.
“School protocol is to call the office so that an adult chaperone escorts the student to the nurse. [and] Do NOT send students with a ‘buddy’ student,” the essay stated.
“To help prevent this type of tragedy from happening again,” the school district will adopt the California School Boards Association’s best practices for managing asthma, update its safety protocols for students with and will work with medical experts to provide asthma management training to staff. , said the statement from the family lawyer.
“Change had to happen,” Sepulveda told The Press Enterprise. “And it happens, thank God.”
Calimesa is about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.