A father is suing a boarding school in Utah after his daughter died because school officials thought she was “faking” her illness for weeks.
Taylor Goodridge, 17, died on December 20 after collapsing at the Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane, Utah. According to her family, she had sepsis from an undiagnosed illness. Dean Goodridge, Taylor’s father, sued the school in late December and as a result, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services placed the school on probation.
Dean claims that staff advised the 17-year-old to “suck it up” and suggested that she was making up her abdominal pain by drinking water and taking aspirin, causing her to briefly fall into her own vomit one time.
“They allowed a child to suffer needlessly for nearly two weeks when she could have been saved,” Dean said.
Alan Mortensen, who represents Taylor’s father, said they are arguing the school violated the Utah Health Care Malpractice Act.
“Here is that this young teenager is sent down to Utah from the state of Washington to try and help her get her life back in order, and before they know it, she’s died from what we believe will ultimately prove out to be sepsis. And with no explanation.”
“They had just called the family and said that she died of a heart attack,” said Mortensen.
According to her father, Taylor was in “very good health” when she checked into the institution.
In the weeks preceding her death, Taylor reportedly complained about her agony and implored officials for assistance, according to her father’s lawsuit. School staff ignored Taylor despite the fact that she had fainted in her own vomit and that her abdomen was “extremely distended so that it was noticeable to others.”
According to the lawsuit, the father trusted the school enough to send his daughter there after reading the guarantees it made.
“We recognize how difficult a decision it was to intervene on your child’s behalf,” a Diamond Ranch Academy Parent Manual reads, according to the lawsuit. “We also recognize how difficult it is to place the care of your child in the hands of another. Please take comfort in knowing that we take our responsibility very seriously,” the manual states as per Daily Mail.
Additionally, the institution assures parents that it will “treat every student as if they were our own daughter or son.” In a statement, Diamond Ranch Academy said: “We are cooperating fully and transparently with the State of Utah as they investigate this tragedy. The safety of the students is our number one priority and we are continually striving to provide the best care possible to our students and families.”
The lawsuit demands that the academy pay the cost of the attorneys’ fees as well as general and specific damages that will be decided by the jury. In addition, Diamond Ranch Academy is being asked to pay punitive damages in “an amount sufficient to punish DRA and deter DRA and others in similar situations from engaging in such conduct in the future,” according to the family.
Diamond Ranch Academy is described as a “therapeutic boarding school” that helps support teens with mental conditions including major depressive disorder and anger management issues.