A 34-year-old Rochester man rejected warnings from emergency room staff about the health of his ailing 3-year-old son and took the boy home, where he died hours later, according to a felony criminal complaint.
Darius D. Pitchford was charged Monday in Olmsted County District Court with child neglect resulting in substantial harm in the death of D-Angelo Pitchford on Feb. 14 at the family's residence in the 2000 block of NW. 41st Street.
Pitchford was charged by summons and notified to appear in court Jan. 4. Court records do not list an attorney for him. Messages were left Wednesday for Pitchford seeking his response to the allegations.
An autopsy revealed that D-Angelo died of complications from a paraduodenal hernia, a rare and potentially life-threatening condition that can cause intestinal obstruction, the complaint said. An Olmsted Medical Center staff member who saw D-Angelo in the hours before the boy's death told law enforcement that an X-ray would have shown the need for immediate surgery.
According to the complaint:
Pitchford took D-Angelo to the medical center's emergency room about 11 p.m. Feb. 13 when the boy threw up after not feeling well all day and appearing to have a stomach ache.
Medical records indicated that D-Angelo looked pale, lethargic and dehydrated. Pitchford reluctantly allowed medical personnel to draw blood from his son in an effort to determine what was wrong. Test results indicated possible kidney failure and dehydration, but Pitchford insisted he was being told lies. The father refused further medical intervention for D-Angelo and said he was taking his son home.
Pitchford signed a hospital form acknowledging that he was leaving against medical advice. In discharge paperwork, he was urged to return the boy to the ER as soon as possible. "Your child may die," it said. The hospital staff member who examined D-Angelo told Pitchford the same.
Pitchford and D-Angelo arrived home between 2 and 2:30 a.m. Feb. 14. About 6:30 a.m., D-Angelo's mother awakened to find the child in the fetal position on the floor next to her bed. "She flipped him over and yelled that she thought he was dead," the complaint read. She called 911, but D-Angelo was pronounced dead at the scene.