School Nurses Laid Off, and a Child Dies

     PHILADELPHIA (CN) - An elementary student died of an asthma attack due to incompetent treatment at a school that had no nurse due to budget cuts, her estate claims in Federal Court.
     Laporshia Massey died on Sept. 25, 2013, after being told "that there was no nurse and that decedent should just 'be calm,'" according to the lawsuit.
     Massey, 12, "was kept at school, despite her having told defendants that she could not breathe," the complaint states. And under school policy, students are "not permitted to possess or use prescribed medication at the school without the proper supervision of a nurse."
     But there was no nurse that day at W.C. Bryant Promise Academy, Laporshia's parents say.
     The School District of Philadelphia cut 3,000 employees between June and September 2013, due to $1 billion in state budget cuts. The district cut its nursing staff from 289 to 179 in that time, according to the Philadelphia City Paper. There are more than 131,000 students in the district, which is the eighth-largest in the nation.
     Despite's Laporshia's recognizable asthma symptoms, the school "never contacted emergency medical services to assist with decedent's worsening medical condition," nor did it send her to a hospital, her parents say.
     When she got home, she was "immediately rushed to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia," but suffered cardiac arrest and died on the way, her parents say.
     The city medical examiner said her death was caused by "acute exacerbation of asthma."
     Laporshia's parents seek damages for wrongful death, negligence, failure to train, deliberate indifference and civil rights violations.
     They are represented by Michael Pomerantz with the Marrone Law Firm.