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Here’s The Scoop … A Big Red Flag … On The Day Of Qualifying For LBTS Commission Seat …

January 9, 2010 by Barbara


Dear Readers …since  late yesterday afternoon my phone has been ringing  non-stop…my Blackberry is on overload and my e-mails are growing at an alarming rate …All because a new candidate has thrown her hat in the ring for the LBTS commission seat on District 1… Marjorie Evans as previously posted is a real unknown within town…BUT, not so in Broward County…She is the Broward Children’s Center chief executive officer receiving government funding to the tune of about 8 + million a year and she receives a salary over $140,000 …. I have been sent the links and looked it over…While her resume looks impressive …I received another link to a devastating story that occurred on her watch. ….And while we can all debate the two- sides of the story…. it is her responses that caused a “big red flag” …… for this writer…

Readers may recall as I did upon receiving the link, this sad story that happened in the mid- ninety’s in Lighthouse Point … A little girl playing on the local playing field and was suddenly struck by lightning…I recall it because my own children were in school in Lighthouse Point and we parents all felt this family’s pain….Over the next years we would hear little updates…and then of course over time we all went on with our lives… So it was quite something to see that the link I received was involving that same little girl along with another and the new commission candidate from District 1 ….

Before you scroll down to the excerpts and the link…remember this…The story is written by Bob Norman in the New Times, the same Bob Norman who wrote the “Cuckoo For Coconuts” story about then Commissioner Jerry McIntee , Commissioner Silverstone and former Mayor Oliver Parker…….so  McIntee/ Silverstone/Furth cannot have it both ways and shoot the author down after revering him so highly in the past…And Commissioner Clottey should see a red flag in the lack of training under the new candidate for commission from her side of town…She cannot have it both ways when she is on record from the dais calling attention to her observations of the dispatch training for 911 calls soon after she was elected……. For me though, long disgusted with the lack of correct responses coming from the dais from the Town Manager, Commissioner Silverstone, Commissioner Clottey and Vice Mayor McIntee…it is the responses shown in the deposition by the new candidate for commission in District 1 to the grieving mother, her lack of knowledge to answer questions about the child’s abilities, that she herself did not possess any medical training whatsoever, and especially the all to familiar stubborn behavior that showed no capacity of concern or regret … in this writer’s opinion…..It raises a “big red flag” of what we may see up on the dais over the next 4 years!… The very behavior that needs to be replaced!…

Why in the world would candidate Marjorie Evans jump into the LBTS Municipal election just 8 weeks prior? She will have to explain her decision to the voters ….How and when she explains it will tell us all if more “big red flags” are going to wave a warning…


EXCERPTS….. of the 1st little girl….

“Inhospitable and in Denial
The parents of two little girls placed them in the Broward Children’s Center hoping their daughters would be cured. Something went wrong.
By Bob Norman
Published on December 03, 1998”
“Cristal was one of the most promising kids in the main facility. According to records kept by Broward Children’s Center, Cristal could sit up on her own, pull herself up to a stand, and crawl. She liked to play with toys and watch people go by her crib. When she got agitated, center staffers knew what to get her: “She loved her chocolate milk,” said Broward Children’s Center staffer Robin Sargent in a deposition.

According to a reputable pediatric doctor from San Diego who was hired as an expert witness by Cristal’s attorney, she had a good chance at a relatively normal, happy life, free from life-support machines. By June, in fact, she was being weaned off the ventilator. She breathed on her own through a tracheostomy tube in her neck during the day but still needed a ventilator at night to ensure that she wouldn’t stop breathing while sleeping in the center’s nursery, where 14 other babies connected to life-support machines slept, too.

On the morning of June 19, 1994, something tragic happened in the nursery that stripped Cristal of all of her hard-won physical advancements.

According to civil court depositions, the nursery was being supervised that morning by a respiratory therapist and a licensed practical nurse. Also on duty was a “floating” respiratory therapist, Chackocan Vadakkel, who helped in the nursery as well as in other wings.

Vadakkel, an Indian immigrant with limited English and a heavy accent, in a sworn deposition told Gary Cohen, a medical malpractice attorney hired by Cristal’s family, that employees were concerned that staffing levels were too low:

Cohen: Were you ever concerned that there wasn’t enough help in the nursery? Fifteen babies is a lot of babies.

Vadakkel: Lot of babies.
C: For two people to handle.
V: So, that is why floating therapist — for helping them.

C: Was there ever any talk at the center that you know of about getting more help?

V: They were asking for more help. Everybody asking for more help.
C: Everybody thought they were in need of more help?
V: Yes.

Shortly after 5 a.m. on June 19, Cristal remained connected to the ventilator, which literally breathed for her, though she was also able to take spontaneous breaths on her own. The ventilator was set on 12 compressions — or breaths — a minute. The oxygen went through a ventilator tube, which connected directly to her tracheostomy tube.

Dawn Jackson, the nurse in charge of the babies, instructed Vadakkel to take Cristal off her ventilator. That was the first mistake.

To become a respiratory therapist, Vadakkel had to complete a 15-month course and pass a state test, which he did six months prior to the incident. When he was hired by the center in March 1995, however, he had had no training or experience working with children. More important, he’d never before in his life unhooked a ventilator from a patient when Jackson asked him to unhook Cristal’s.”


EXCERPTS from the candidate for LBTS commission from Dist. 1

When it began an investigation into Cristal’s death, the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (now the Department of Children and Families), forbade Vadakkel from dealing directly with patients, Broward Children’s Center chief executive officer Marjorie Evans said in a deposition. Vadakkel’s boss at the time, Robin Sargent, said in a deposition that it was the center’s decision to bar Vadakkel from looking after patients.

The center also took other action: Robbie Harris was demoted, and a new procedure was instituted to deal with cardiac arrests. The results of the state investigation are confidential, said Lynnette Beal, the spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families.

After learning that her daughter was suddenly brain-damaged and in critical condition, Tanganicka Edwards, Cristal’s mother, drove from her Miramar home to the center, where she met with Evans. The meeting was a volatile one, with a mother furious about her daughter’s sudden and unexpected turn for the worse and an administrator who didn’t have a good explanation for it:

Cohen: That is not an inappropriate response is it, [for the mother] to be angry under these circumstances?

Evans: I think what was done for Cristal was appropriate.
C: Was she given an answer as to what happened?
E: Yes… by me she was. I explained what happened as I understood it…. I told her that Cristal was on a ventilator, and that her trache came out, and CPR was initiated. And I also said to her that, “You do understand that Cristal is a very sick child?” and she became absolutely outraged…. She wouldn’t hear anything. We were getting nowhere. I said to her, “I told you everything I know, what do you want?”

Evans went on to say that Edwards was so furious that she refused to leave until Pompano Beach police came to the center and took a report.

Evans, who testified that she has no medical training, seemed unable to accept the fact that Cristal had been well on her way to a near-normal life. For instance, she insisted that Cristal was “respirator-dependent” rather than “respirator-assisted,” apparently unaware that her own nurse, Jackson, had already testified to the fact that Cristal was technically “respirator-assisted.”

Cohen, who sued for Tanganicka Edwards on the grounds of negligence by center staff, also questioned Evans about things the center’s own social worker had noted in reports about Cristal — before June 19.

Back to her deposition:

Evans: Everything Cristal was doing she was doing with assistance. She was not, you know, doing anything without physical assistance.

Cohen: OK. Were you aware that she was able to pull herself up?
E: No.
C: … able to hold objects in her hand?
E: No.
C: … able to play with toys?
E: No.
C: Were you aware that she was able to sit up?
E: I know she was not —
C: Unassisted?
E: — able to sit up.

The day after the incident, the Miami Herald ran a news brief — which didn’t include Cristal’s name and was marred by factual errors — about the incident. The last line reads: “Center administrator Marjorie Evans said her staff was not to blame.” The brief was the only article ever published about the case.”

more to come….

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