Jenelle Shamrell and Caleb

Fatal Tonsillectomy: Parents Of Toddler Suing After Simple Procedure Goes Horribly Wrong

Two heartbroken parents are suing Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and the doctors who performed a tonsillectomy on their 3-year-old son Caleb, which resulted in his tragic death.

According to KWWL, Jenelle and Brigham Shamrell scheduled a basic tonsillectomy for Caleb after they realized he was having trouble with speech and sleep, a health condition known as “hot potato mouth.” A doctor suggested the toddler have his tonsils removed, which is almost always a simple and safe surgery. But this led the Shamrell family into an unfortunate series of medical malpractice errors.

“Nobody signs paper work and takes their child to the hospital for a tonsillectomy expecting them to die,” said Jenelle Shamrell.

According to the WCF Courier, the parents brought their boy home from a seemingly successful procedure in December of 2014. But it was immediately apparent that something had gone terribly wrong.

“He started throwing up blood and that’s when we know that he had been bleeding for a very long time.”

Jenelle and Brigham rushed the child back to the hospital, but the boy passed out at the entrance. The parents never saw Caleb conscious again. As soon as they arrived at the hospital, the Shamrells had a dark suspicion that Caleb wouldn’t make it out alive.

“When we got to Iowa City, we knew what the most likely outcome was,” said Jenelle. “My husband and I approached Caleb’s care team in Iowa City. We both had always been registered organ donors and big supporters of organ donation, though we had never volunteered. We figured if we weren’t going to use our parts, somebody else could. We just never thought we would have to make that decision for one of our kids.”

Caleb Shamrell
Caleb died from a fatal tonsillectomy. [Photo courtesy of Janelle Shamrell, via Facebook]
Among the mistakes that allegedly led to the child’s death was the failure to give Caleb necessary blood transfusions, the failure to transport Caleb to the ER in a timely manner and administering excessive doses of anesthesia and electroshocks. These decisions resulted in “fatal brain damage.”

Now, a year after the fatal tonsillectomy took the life of their son, Jenelle and Brigham Shamrell have decided to seek some kind of justice. A 10-page lawsuit lists the failings of the medical professionals, but does not request a specific amount of compensation for their loss, because the Shamrell’s lawyer has informed them not to do so at this time.

A statement released from Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare said, “providing safe care to our patients is our top priority. We take the privilege to provide that care very seriously.”

There are no current details about the status of the lawsuit, so check back with the Inquisitr for any follow-up information on how the fatal tonsillectomy case is settled.

The Shamrells may not be able to bring their three-year-old back, but they hope to at least receive some vindication regarding the deadly errors made by the doctors involved.

During his short life, Caleb Shamrell enjoyed playing with toy trucks and pretending to be a superhero.

Caleb Shamrell
Caleb. [Photo via the Alive in Me Foundation]
Despite the devastating loss, Caleb’s parents acknowledged that the boy was able to do some good for other children by donating his organs.

“Good things had to come from it. There had to be some point to it. It just was just one way things could make sense when everything else didn’t. If his life wasn’t going to be saved, then his life needed to save other people.”

Caleb’s liver, corneas, kidneys, and small intestine were all successfully given to recipients in need. As a result of Caleb’s contribution, his parents started the Alive in Me Foundation, which honors the boy’s memory by funding scholarships and local youth programs.

How do you think the Shamrells should be compensated for losing their child to a fatal tonsillectomy?

[Photos courtesy of Brandon Pollock and Alive in Me Foundation]

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