Mother sues Westchester Medical Center over claim nurse slapped child with autism

The suit was filed in State Supreme Court, but a date has not yet been set for a trial. (5/22/14)

VALHALLA - A Peekskill mother is suing Westchester Medical Center and others for $3 million after she says a nurse slapped her son with autism.

Rogelio "R.J." James was supposed to be having a simple dental procedure last October when his mother, Yolanda Stewart, says he was slapped by a nurse. R.J. was referred to the center by a dentist at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, who determined that the child's explosive reactions to dental work required general anesthesia.

Four adults at the center reportedly had to restrain R.J. until the anesthesia took effect. As he was reviving, R.J. began pulling on wires connected to monitors and an IV needle in his arm, with only his mother and a nurse there to restrain him. R.J. tried to bite the nurse's hand, at which point his mother says the nurse slapped him across the face.

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In addition to the medical center, the suit names the nurse as a defendant. Stewart is also suing the institute, claiming they did not adequately warn the center of R.J.'s possible reaction.

Stewart says she filed a complaint with the medical center, but as far as she knows, no action was taken against the nurse. Attorney Gary Mayerson says the entire incident shows a complete disregard for professional standards.

The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court, but a date has not yet been set for a trial.

A Westchester Medical Center spokesman did not want to comment on the pending lawsuit, while officials with the Westchester Institute for Human Development did not return News 12's call.

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