COVID-19-related death of Elmsford boy wasn't publicly revealed for nearly 1 week

Adwaith Sukamaran, 7, contracted the coronavirus in April and passed away by early May.

News 12 Staff

May 15, 2020, 10:46 PM

Updated 1,463 days ago

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New York is investigating 119 reported cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome related to COVID-19 and three deaths – including a child from Elmsford.
Adwaith Sukamaran, 7, contracted the coronavirus in April and passed away by early May.
Despite the unknowns about the illness, news of Adwaith's passing did not publicly come to light for nearly a week.
Last Friday, Dr. Michael Gewitz, the chief physician of Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, revealed the boy's death near the tail end of a news conference, catching the public and the news media by surprise.
Since then, News 12 has learned:
  • May 2 - Adwaith died at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital where he was treated.
  • May 6 – The state Health Department issued an advisory requiring all hospitals to notify them about any pediatric cases of the syndrome.
  • May 7 – News 12’s Nikita Ramos interviewed the same doctor about the illness, inquiring about children being treated at that hospital. She was not told about the child’s death.
  • May 8 – County Executive George Latimer called a news conference to alert parents to symptoms. The boy's death revealed 14 minutes into the news conference.
Why did it take six full days for the public to find out about the boy’s death?
The state Department of Health says, "Hospitals are required to report cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome to the Department of Health immediately."
The county told News 12 that it was notified of the 7-year-old's death on May 6 as a COVID-19 positive case, four days after he passed.
It's still unclear when the hospital reported the death to the state Department of Health.
Maria Fareri Children's Hospital issued a statement saying, "For obvious privacy and public health reasons, hospitals do not independently report or publicly announce individual metrics or deaths due to accidents or disease."
 


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