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Parents file civil suit in death of Fayette infant

| Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The parents of a premature infant who died while under the care of a visiting nurse in Fayette County have filed a civil lawsuit against the nurse and the agency that employed her.

Derek Miskanin Sr. and Montana Fisher filed the civil lawsuit in Fayette County Common Pleas Court against Pediatric Services of America and Jackie Yeagley on Jan. 16. The firm, based in Norcross, Ga., has branch offices across the country, according to its business website.

Miskanin and Fisher were the parents of 7-month-old Derek Miskanin Jr. The infant died Dec. 4, 2010, after he began to experience breathing problems while on a ventilator at his home on Bute Road.

In the civil lawsuit, Miskanin and Fisher allege Pediatric Services assigned Yeagley to care for their infant, although she allegedly lacked adequate training. The parents allege Yeagley “had almost no experience treating pediatric patients in a home setting.”

Yeagley was caring for Derek when, at 12:20 a.m., the boy's grandfather alerted Miskanin and Fisher that the infant “was in distress.” The couple ran to the crib, according to the lawsuit, where they found Yeagley standing at the crib and their son “blue and lifeless.”

Fisher began CPR and Derek was taken by ambulance to Uniontown Hospital, where he was treated for cardiac arrest but was pronounced dead, according to the lawsuit.

Miskanin and Fisher are seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

Coroner Dr. Phillip Reilly listed the cause of death on the infant‘s death certificate as failure to maintain airway control and the manner of death as accidental.

A coroner‘s jury declared the death an avoidable accident but found Yeagley of North Union negligent following an inquest on Dec. 14, 2011.

Paula A. Koczan, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents Yeagley and Pediatric Services in the civil filing, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In addition to the civil lawsuit, Yeagley, 42, is charged by state police with child endangerment. Police said in a criminal complaint that although multiple alarms on the ventilator sounded when Derek began to experience breathing problems, Yeagley failed to act.

Yeagley faces a preliminary hearing on the misdemeanor child endangerment charge at 1:30 p.m. on March 20 before North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis.

Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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